So here I am, reading the Guardian, aka the good old Grauniad, whose most egregious error thus far today has been “reign in” instead of the correct “rein in”, which is pretty awful when you think about it, considering that to reign is to have power; to rule, whereas reins are an apparatus of control. (Usually over a horse. I’m sure you’ve seen one on TV.) To “rein in” that animal is to get it under control. To “reign in” a place or metaphorical place means to rule that place, e.g. “compassion reigned [ruled] in his heart, reining in [controlling] his anger”. (Cheesy, but you get the idea. Although incidentally, unlike rule, as far as I know you can’t “reign” something, you have to “reign over” or “reign in” it — I’m sure there’s a word for that.)
This, however, has nothing to do with this post, which was originally going to be a bit of a Twitter rant but got too long for a 140-character chain, or even 280-character chain if whatever that scuttlebutt about the text limit I was hearing was based on is true.
Specifically, this post is about this article here, where everyone witters on about how “like” buttons are terrible. It’s actually more nuanced than that, and some of the points are relevant enough to be worth taking into consideration for those who haven’t already. But my my main response, honestly, is just to get annoyed. Because, guess what? If you really hate notifications that much, THERE’S A BUTTON ON YOUR PHONE TO TURN THEM OFF. All of them, or selectively for individual programs, whatever suits you. (Admittedly Ingress manages to reset that control switch every time it updates, but then I’m also about ready to uninstall Ingress as a result, so I’m still going to win either way.) If you really hate Twitter that much, delete your goddamn account. If you think facebook is ruining your life THEN JUST EFFING LEAVE ALREADY. I did. Makes no difference to me whatsoever. No account — no login — no nothing. And don’t you dare tell me it’s impossible to communicate with friends etc. without it. How exactly do you think we all grew up? If your friends are worth keeping, they’ll stay in touch. If not, it’s probably better to know sooner rather than later.
But to sit there and complain about how you regret not spending time with your kids because you’re on your phone? YOU MADE THAT CHOICE. I don’t care how easy it was or how seductive a binging sound the (unmuted for some inexplicable reason) phone made (with the notifications that you didn’t turn off), you preferred the phone to the children and at the end of the day THAT WILL ALWAYS BE ON YOU.
Get your act together. I agree facebook is godawful for a great many reasons (that’s a whole other post), but then that would be why I don’t have an account. Twitter — I check when I feel like it, and mostly I just use it to tweet either funny or angry screeds, whatever’s on my mind. The only thing on my phone that has any priority settings active are texts and phone calls. And guess what? My social circle — my high-tech computer-building circle, no less — are all cool with that.
FORGETTING YOUR KIDS IS ON YOU. YOU AND YOU ALONE. That is the be-all and end-all of that situation. Get off the damn phone, or sell it and buy an old model that only receives texts and calls if you’re really that much of a suggestible* screwup, I don’t care, but don’t make out your failings to be somebody else’s fault. facebook and its ilk have enough actually wrong with them that there’s really no need to blame them for your inability to look after your own child as well.
*I say this from the perspective of someone who is by nature hideously suggestible, prone to believing any and every “authority” that makes a statement in my hearing about any subject I don’t know much about, and actively worries every time I ignore my phone that I might be missing something important. (Pro tip: I never am.) You have no excuse.