Starting right now, I'm trying something new – reclaiming and rebuilding the cognitive equity that I've been sending into third-party walled gardens that I do not control, mainly Facebook, but some other sites like Goodreads to a lesser extent.

Honest confession: I spend way more time on Facebook than is reasonable, primarily as an avenue to fill the "gap" of social interactions that comes with being a natural introvert and a self-employed one to boot. Facebook has served as my "virtual watercooler" and it's time to step away for a bit.

By stepping away, I'm not quitting the platform, deleting content, or closing my account. The platform is still an invaluable one to stay connected with friends, family, past schoolmates, and just about everyone I don't have the fortunate to see physically daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly. I'm keeping my Messenger account, and it's not just because my wife would be sternly disappointed that I'm abandoning a reliable message to stay in touch throughout the day. (I do enough development and testing with SMS that it's not a viable substitute until I quit building mobile products.)

By stepping away, I mean to stop injecting so much ephemeral content into the ether under the impression that everything needs commentary and it needs it now. This also means that I don't need to feel compelled to share every amusing thing I see with the folks who will appreciate it. It means fixing the leaky plumbing where cognitive energy is wasted drop by drop in an instant response culture and saving mental fluids for more meaningful and intentional contributions that are not just visible to folks on my friends list. It means going "old school" and getting back to building up intellectual equity on Internet real estate that I control and making that available to an audience that isn't required to be engaged any platform other than the Open Web.

So, moving forward, some new rules:

1. Limit sharing to a minimum. No more sharing memes, poking bears, giving my honest hot takes on the days' events on platforms that could go away tomorrow and I'd have no say in the matter.

2. Any new thing that must be said has to be said in the appropriate venue that I control. If it's a technology thought that may have value for collaborators and clients, it can live on the Audacious Software blog. If it's a line of inquiry of a more personal nature, it can live on my personal site. If it's a private thought or discussion that I wouldn't be comfortable sharing with clients or the public at large, I can do the legwork to find the appropriate channel to discuss that in a protected manner. (I'm also trying to get back into paper-based correspondence if anyone wants letters. Made up my own stationery too!)

3. Reconceptualization of third-party platforms no longer as hosts for my contributions, but marketing channels to entice visitors to my own (open) platform for engagement.

What is permitted:

1. Continued use of the platform as a social mechanism for coordinating social activities. I won't post my review of the latest Marvel movie there, but I'll use the platform to coordinate how we can get together to see it together.

2. Point-to-point private messaging. Facebook Messenger is a solid product as long as you're not letting it snoop in your call and SMS logs.

3. Responding to content posted within the platform where I'm directly tagged as in invitation to comment. I won't be poking bears on Facebook anymore and initiating scuffles, but I'm still happy to jump into scuffles where I'm invited.

What I'm hoping to gain:

1. Revitalize my own online properties that have been neglected as my engagement increased with third-party platforms. Free myself from the questions of how others' platform architectures will affect how I publish online.

2. Work towards my 2018 goal of becoming much more deliberate in my words and actions. Minimize the reactive stance in favor of the proactive stance.

3. Regain control over the presentation of my works, and not assume that other parties have my interest at heart when implementing algorithmic content presentations.

4. Regain the incentive to purposefully craft the presentation of my online "face" (in a Goffmanian sense).

5. Support the "webby" nature of the "World Wide Web" by being both a source and destination for links.

6. Get back to bootstrapping by working in my own workshop instead of relying on tools provided by others in constrained environments.

Now, I'm aware that I'll likely lose some "eyeballs" by making all of you on social platforms click that extra link to go out of the Walled Garden and onto a website to read whatever I have to say. All I can say is that I recognize the additional hurdle and it provides me an additional incentive to put some more mental elbow grease into the content so that it's worth that extra click. I'll lose shares and likes as metrics for measuring the impact of a given bit of content, but I have other means to capture and measure that engagement.

Thank you for your support and I look forward realizing the gains above. I think it will work out well for both of us.

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