Why Facebook is so depressing these days
If you’re like me, you spend a lot of your time on the internet and are constantly reading new things. You click on one link to the next to find yourself always taking in content of all types - from the weather to a sunken underwater art gallery to learning about why certain fonts don’t exist in certain languages to watching a kickstarter video to planning dinner reservations to looking at your google calendar to see that you have a call in the next 10 minutes to finding yourself on FB in the middle of doing twenty things at the same time. If you’re like me, you’re probably great at multitasking and also have your mouse’s setting to super fast tracking, super fast double-clicking and super fast scrolling. We are creatures born before the internet and now it is definitely a part of our daily lives. If you’re like me, you embrace technology and new things.
Let me tell you why FB is depressing to me. I’m thirty. I live in Brooklyn, NY. I love New York City. Yes, I spend a lot of my time on the computer, but I also spend a lot of my time not on it. I indulge in the real world. The friends I have, I love. The people I choose to spend my time with, I’ve made a conscious effort to do so. Time is scarce and hard, especially my own time. I’ve found recently, honestly within the past 6 months, that whenever I find myself on Facebook, I get off of it feeling rather depressed. If you know me, I’m definitely not a depressed person, but I found myself thinking so much more about Facebook and certain peoples lives, that I found myself trapped in this terrible spider web of “what if’s”. “Why is that person posting those pictures of themselves?” “Does that mean their dating now?!” “Was your day that terrible and are you that lonely that you are looking for someone to tell you it’s going to be okay online?” “Are people really liking the post where you described your feelings of your grandmother dying?” “Your first time to Disney-world and 40 pictures with the kids!? Really!?” “Okay, yes, I will like all of your dog photos” and the list goes on and on.
What is the level of success? Is success measured by how many people use something or is it in the way in which it is being used? Does being tasteful even count in this? Obviously not. This is why Facebook is depressing for me. It’s the same mundane things that you end up filling your head with and it becomes a part of your day. For some people, it even starts your day with all these conscious and subconscious thoughts. And still, we find it ridiculous that people have real conversations and fights about what so and so posted on Facebook. In this crazy way, Facebook has become a part of our lives, like our morning cup of coffee or tea or orange juice.
Are we confusing with what actually happened in real life to a picture someone posted on Facebook? Does that shit bother you? Or does it bother you because you missed it? Or does it bother you that things actually looked awesome via that one picture, but in real life it was fucking boring? That’s what Facebook is!! The content that is creates and the weird creepy need to go back and check on your narcissistic impulses. We’ll always have Facebook for that. I’m personally just over it and find it really depressing. There was a moment in my life where I was “addicted” to it, and then I had this self-realization that it was just not making me feel good. Like eating a lot of chocolate cake because it’s delicious, but then you look at your body and it’s not so delicious feeling or looking.
I took about a month off from Facebook this year, and I know that sounds like nothing, but if you’re like me you are/were one of those people that check it every morning, over 30 times a day, while you’re out, before you go to bed and when you wake up. It’s a part of your world and it weirdly, it was just not making you feel all that awesome.
I don’t know what Facebook is going to be become. Maybe it’ll stay what it is and just have these addicted people to it, posting about the things that make them sad or happy or just about nothing at all. Maybe it’ll just be that stalker tool for your next hire or crush? Maybe this just means that Facebook’s time is coming to an end because it’s just fill with such garbage and cutting into our personal space. The excitement dwindles into paranoia and feelings of depression?!! Maybe? I don’t know :) Maybe you just don’t care! (good for you!!!) I do tend to think people agree that once something goes main stream it loses it charm, it’s curation and it’s values. Things evolve all the time. That’s fine, it’s part of our ecosystem, but also our sense of self needs to be valued and we need to remember what’s important in our daily lives. Your personal space defines you and makes you a better person, and even a better person for other people in your life. If you’re like me, you should take a month or two off of Facebook, and then write a blog post about how you got over your FB addiction. Now I barely log in, but I’ll always share that silly picture of my dog, that yummy meal that I ate or that beautiful place that I travelled to.
I spent the last 3 months as a HackStar in the Spring NYC TechStar program and it’s coming to a close in about 2 weeks. With all things that end, you tend to think about your next steps - what’s next? What am I going to do after this?
Will I work with a startup from the program?
Will I be able to work on my own startup from this experience?
How do you find the right people that will invest in you (not your idea)?
Can I figure out a way to do all of the above and find the right thing? Who is to say that what you’re doing is right. You just have to do what you believe in. Even if it’s a weird mix of thoughts and experiences. Who’s to tell you that what your doing sucks or is awesome anyway. Everyone you meet will give you a mixed bag of opinions. At the end of the day you really just have to trust yourself.
I’ve heard many different things. Like, in order to succeed or work on your own project, you have to do it 100% or it will be left in the back burner. Sure, that’s partly true, but you have to be ready to do that. Just dropping everything or going full-time on it doesn’t mean it’s necessarily going to happen the way you want it to. Nothing usually happens that way! I think getting yourself to that safe place first and then going full head strong is good. It takes time, even if you think you’ve already gotten there, there are always things to work out and tinker on. You’re always failing on your own projects, but you have to overcome it and move on to the next step of the process. Moving on is very important because being stuck is shit.
So, I’m in this interesting reflective purgatory state right now where I’m still moseying along with my project/team on the side until I’m able to devote more of myself to it (and them too) after this program, while also knowing that I’m eager to meet/work with real strong-willed people who are passionate about what they are doing too. There’s a double edge sword that I’m dancing around, but there is something exciting about this dance.
Waking up with a Heart Attack
I know that sounds intense, but that’s how I have been feeling this past month. About 2 years ago WE came up with this idea; we had a problem and found a solution for it that we would use, a lot. Before I get to that, this is how I’ve been feeling.
I want to execute and make the right product - can’t stop thinking about that. It wakes me up in the middle of the night. It wakes me up before the sun. I don’t necessarily want to go out and do the same thing over. Drinking ain’t what it used to be. I want to be surrounded by people that are inspiring and doing things. I made drastic changes to my career to pursue my passion. I’m still happy about it. I believe I’m doing the right thing right now, and I believe it also has a time stamp on it.
Part of it sounds like I have some manic depressive disorder, but I just really want to work on my passion project. In about 3-4 weeks I’ll be more open to speaking about it. It’s not that I’m ‘scared’ or ‘afraid’ to talk to you about my idea. That’s silly. I’m just the kind of person that likes to talk the talk when I have something to show. If you actually are interested, please email me and I’d love to talk to you about it more personally.
I love to travel. I found that more out in the past 4-5 years of my life living in NYC. I’ve been in the process of always having a plane ticket purchased so I know where I’m going next. This year, so far, I have gone to Nicaragua, San Francisco, Madrid, Marrakech and New Orleans. I have Greece, Croatia and Portugal on the radar. One of the most fascinating things about travel is putting yourself out there. When you take yourself out of your comfort zone you allow yourself to actually see the world. It’s also a process of unlearning everything your parents have taught you about not talking to strangers. I’ve followed young boys into alleyways in hopes they would show me the way. I’ve always trusted my gut when things didn’t feel right. If you are smart about your surroundings, you’ll be okay - you just have to be aware of those things and you’ll be fine.
Exploring the unknown opens your heart and opens your mind. I think we get so used to living our everyday lives, setting up a routing for ourselves and hoping that day will come where things will work out. Nothing ever happens on its own. I believe you have to put yourself out there and explore your options.
The older I’m getting, the more I’m realizing life is short. There are people all around us that things are happening to. Parents being taken away from them, loved ones getting sick, fatal accidents and so on. These things always take us by surprise and always leave us with a huge feeling of “what if’s.” I know I have this conversation a lot with my friend Henry Brown and we both believe that you have to do what’s right for you and not look back and wish you had done it different.
If you haven’t guessed by now, we’re creating a product that is geared towards travelling. I’m excited about what’s to come. To my co-founder Dana Steffe for making this blood and tears vision a soon to be reality. It’s hard to say thanks, but when you have people who believe in you and what you want, it it’s hard to not feel exceptionally lucky that they exist in the world. Now it’s a matter of getting the rest of the world on our side.
What’s a HackStar?
Sounds pretty awesome right? Well, It is. I’m currently one in the TechStars NYC Spring 2012 Program.
To be honest, I didn’t even know such a thing existed. I knew about TechStars because I applied to the program last year with my start up, but I knew at the time when I applied I was lacking certain key members, but did it anyway. Of course I didn’t get in, but the mental experience on its own was well worth it in realizing where I wanted to go. When I found out about the HackStars program through a friend who was doing it, Octavian Costache, I was extremely excited about the idea. One of the main reasons I decided to do it was after my phone call with David Tisch, one of the managing directors of the program. He told me super honestly what it was about, and I told him super honestly about what I wanted (another blog post on what I want will be coming). It was the perfect fit for moving in the direction that I wanted! So, low and behold, I decided to do what a lot of people fear, I left my financially secure high-level design job to enter the start-up world.
So, what exactly IS a HackStar? I’d like to think of it as someone who is exceptionally good at what they do and has mastered their craft; whether it be a User Interface Designer, User Experience Designer, Frontend Developer, Backend Developer, IOS Developer (insert more professions here) and/or someone who can do more than one of these task really well. They are doers and go getters. They are open to feedback and can turn around things pretty quickly. They are smart. A HackStar acts as a consultant to the TechStar companies.
A HackStar is not a slave to the companies in TechStars. They are treated with the utmost respect and get the opportunity to participate in the TechStars program. They work with the TechStar companies on their features, product bugs, overall vision and user testing, to name a few things. They are also sought after. Usually, the TechStar companies will bribe us, in a positive way, to work with them. I personally have gotten free lunches, coffee, snacks, alcohol and many things thus far with the companies I’ve worked for. As I work more with these companies, I feel like I’ve become a part of their team, which also makes me really want to see them succeed.
If you are interested in becoming a HackStar, you should definitely apply. It’s probably one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I know that sounds really intense, but the things that you are exposed to during this program is by far so real and honest. You’ll get to meet some of the best people out there, learn about their success and failures and build a network that will stick with you throughout your entire career. It’s fucking awesome!
Be careful what you set your heart upon - for it will surely be yours.
I’ve been in design for what it feels like my entire life. Most people consider a work day 8 hours, but for as long as I can remember it’s teetered between 12 and 14 hours.
A lot of my friends weren’t designers, so they just thought I was fucked. Maybe a part of me was. But in all honesty I thought they were fucked because they didn’t want to work as much as I did. I guess I just always wanted something more, something bigger. I always wanted to be better. It’s crazy that you can still feel that way after so much time. To be totally honest, a part of me almost wishes that I didn’t feel that way; that I could just stay ‘happy’ with what I had and build up from that like most people did. But, if you know me at all then you know that I’m not like most people.
Sometimes you can work at a great place and just settle because it’s great and easy and works with your schedule. But that day always comes where you wonder if this is right for you. Is this really what I thought I would be doing when I grew up?
About 3 weeks ago I finally took the plunge and decided that I will not do work that I feel unattached to or entirely bored of again. It’s really not about the money anymore, which always mattered too much in the past. I want to work with people that are excited and passionate about their lives. I want to wake up and feel like I have a crazy, awesome day ahead. I want adventure. I want it to be easy to ask someone a question, a favor or just some straight up help. I want to wake up feeling alive, not the other way around. Life is too short to not do the things you want to do.
If you can stop and notice that and do something about it, I think you’ll be a whole hell of a lot happier than sitting and wondering what if. Take a chance. You can always go back, if you want to. I’m really happy I did.