Leaving Facebook

I have been off of Facebook since, the end of 2011, and it has changed my life.

It has been almost 3 years, and at first, I was asked a countless amount of times, “why did you leave Facebook?” Time passed, and I was no longer invited to ‘group events,’ and I found out later that ‘friends’ had gotten married and others had moved away. However, from the end of 2011 to the end of 2014, my life, has moved forward. I have been to about  20 weddings in the past 3 years, I have attended many parties and sadly said goodbye to many friends who have up and moved away. But can you believe it? I did ALL of that, without Facebook.

The original reason

The typical story; A heart is broken, emotions ensue and an ‘adventure’ is needed. I follow the cliche footsteps of many others who couldn’t bear to be exposed to old memories of love and happiness. I threw away so many photos, donated outfits from romantic occasions, moved locations, and surrounded myself with an entire new breadth of friends. I needed to smother the past for just enough time to get me through my immediate heartbreak. Once I accepted the situation at hand, I was ready to reflect.

I took a handful of months, during the frozen season of Chicago, to read old notes and diagnose all aspects of why our relationship was not healthy. I needed closure, but ultimately I needed an understanding of how to move on. And, mostly a definition of what I wanted in my life. Those cold months became a period of self reflection and therapeutic acceptance.

The choice to stay away

The spring had sprung and I was ready to meet new people, discover new things and experience every part of life I could. I met a lot of new people that year, and many of them said, “I’ll friend you on Facebook.” This led me to the repetitive dialog consisting of; “I’m not on Facebook,” “Oh, why?” “Because I left and just didn’t go back” “Oh well can you get back on so I can friend you and send you these photos?”

I began to think about how leaving Facebook was such a meaningful action in my life. It carried much more value than just discontinuing a web service.  When people asked me to join again, it wasn’t as easy as saying “okay.” It required a lot of thought.

I started to think about how I had lost touch with some people who were tied into my relationship downward spiral, and how beneficial it was that they were not in my immediate life anymore. I thought about all the old photos I hadn’t seen in months and was not interested in digging up. I imagined the gut retching feelings I would encounter looking at old comments and possible new, and potentially mean, comments about the ending of us. The answer was not as simple as, “okay.” The answer was, I don’t need to consider this because the potential negative and unproductive effects are not worth this action.

Today

As time went on, I met someone new and moved on with life. I took a job traveling the world, and didn’t take a second to think about the past. I as growing and experiencing new things, which is exactly what I promised myself I would do. Often, thoughts would come into my head about leaving Facebook, “this is great, because I will experience all these new things and no one will know about until them they ask, which is what friends should do anyway.” I began sending cards to a good friend, and she would send them back. I met new people and found out that they knew someone I knew and that feeling of connection carried so much meaning. I learned that a friend was pregnant because she called me on the phone, and I thanked her endlessly for including be in the excitement.

Slowly, I began to reap the benefits of leaving Facebook. I never had any ‘gray’ area friends, and I removed myself from any digital gossip circles encroaching toward me. Not being tempted by gossip is an act of god, I tell you. I had more verbal and physical interactions with friends then I used to, when Facebook became fully adopted and spewed as a communicative hub. When people didn’t invite me to something, I never knew about it and when someone wanted to hurt me they had to break through my physical friend barrier.

In retrospect

Initially, when I left Facebook I never thought I would be so effected by the action. My attempt to hide parts of the past for a short period of time helped heal my heart, but I didn’t realize how many other aspects of my life would benefit from my choice. Old memories of scrolling through friend of a friend of a friend’s photos to Jamaica, plague me to this day. Viewing peoples lives, that didn’t ACTUALLY really invite me to view, felt wrong. Degrading myself because I wasn’t as pretty in my Facebook photos, or didn’t have as many friends, or was obviously not in a relationship, or didn’t go to all the cool places everyone did, was unproductive, masochistic, and unhealthy. I think about the other life events now, that I would feel like I don’t live up to. The truth is, I get, and we get, enough of that pressure in our everyday lives that we don’t need the reinforcement during our private, quiet, reflective moments in life.

I didn’t realize how drastically my communication style would be altered, after I left Facebook. Thankfully, I have an endless data plan. Because after I left, I was on the phone again like I used to be at 13, twirling in my parents phone cord in their kitchen. I felt as though I was connecting closer with my friends through the phone. We would promise to see each other, and we would! I would reflect on my days and remember my verbal conversation. I’m not sure the same can be said for digital messaging.

I live in a big city, but the locals call it a small town. There have been many times in the past 3 years that I’ve run into friends and acquaintances while out on the town. When I run into a good friend, or a good old friend, without expectations, the feeling I get, is on my top 10 list. It helps me believe in fate, and a reason for things. When I see people I have a lot to share, and not gossip to take part in.

All of that being said…

I realize there are good aspects to Facebook. To put it bluntly, the bad aspects out weigh the good aspects for me, and although that may not be true for everyone, I’m sure it is true for many. Today, if I went back on Facebook I would be flooded with information from old friends that I no longer talk to, photos from a very different time in my life and information that is not relevant to me. Sure, I could friend everyone I know and start sharing information like everyone does, but I don’t think it would add value to my life.

Either way, things have been going really well in my real world, and I think I’d like to keep them that way.

 

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July 11, 2014

The reason I am learning adobe after effects

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March 17, 2014

New Digs!

Monday, March 10 I started a new job at Fuzzy Math!

The new digs are beautiful.

I think the excitement is mutual :)

I’m already feelin’ the passion here, and I can’t wait to see what comes next!

 

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March 12, 2014

The Best Television Experience

I’ve really enjoyed all the buzz in the news between the Comcast Time Warner Cable acquisition and HBO/Cable versus Netflix debate. I just wanted to jot down my thoughts:

A great info graphic referenced some data: 

  • 40% of TV’s are connected to the internet, either through the TV itself or another device.
  • 70% of broadband users under the age of 35 get at least some of their TV from online sources
  • 119M US TV’s will be connected to the internet by 2015, up 51% from 2013.

I want talk about one example from the other side of the world. Singapore, is a place where Temasek Holding , a government company, has monopolized the television industry. Private ownership of satellite dishes is banned  and there are only two local pay TV operators. Obviously, the media and telecommunication industry is much different than ours in the United States. I think this is important because they’ve had to design a process that will work within their constraints. As our competitive landscape in the United States changes, it’s important to consider a new way to provide service. In Singapore, channels can be purchased a la carte. Imagine being able to do that in the United States? As companies like Netflix and Hulu produce their own “television” shows, we start to see a way to break outside of the mold.

As fas as experiences are concerned, I have a list of TV shows that I really enjoy. I’ve selected them through recommendations from articles and the newspaper, and found a way to preview the series. I’ll list a couple of them:

  1. Mad Men
  2. House of Cards
  3. The Walking Dead
  4. Looking
  5. Girls
  6. Intervention
  7. The Bachelor (secret addiction)

Let me discuss how I receive this service:

  • Mad Men

- Netflix/Xfinity
- ROKU (Television) or IPad Xfinity App

  • House of Cards

- Netflix
- ROKU (Television)

  • The Walking Dead

- Netflix
- ROKU (Television) or IPad Xfinity App

  • Looking

- HBOGo
- Apple TV (Television) / IPad App

  • Girls- HBOGo

- HBOGo
- Apple TV (Television) / IPad App

  • Intervention

- Xfinity App
- Apple TV (Television) / IPad App

  • The Bachelor (secret addiction):

- Antenna Basic Cable
- Television

As you can see, there isn’t a consistent platform for delivery. I don’t want to preach, but let’s please find a way to unite these experiences through 1 platform. I have a feeling I’m not the only one with this problem. I think it’s fun when the industry is shaking at the knees, because it provides an opportunity for something new.

 

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February 27, 2014

What’s next?

So its 2013, and over the past 5 years my opinion, informed by articles, research and first hand experience, is a majority acceptance of the user experience design practice.

Yes, every once in awhile you’ll hear the occasional

“my company doesn’t understand why we need to defend the user..”

But as a whole, most industries see the benefit of user experience design. If they don’t, they probably invest in it anyway because their competitor has a solid practice.

What is going on?

If we win the argument, then we get to practice our craft? Yes. However, there was something appealing about convincing the business and technology. I believe many of us, as user experience designers, fell into the role out of pure stubbornness and hot headedness. We like the convincing, and evangelical side of the job. In some ways, that quality is what sets us apart from others on our development teams. So what do we do now? If our field becomes fully accepted, what type of UX designers will be bred? Will we continue to be a bunch of innovative, quick witted, assholes? Personally, that’s who I want to continue to work with everyday. At ThoughtWorks we’ve started to reinvent the craft a bit.

Instead of fighting the business and technology to defend the user, we’ve begun to help the business and technology asses the right problem.

Sometimes when we are asked to implement usability fixes, we realize the reason the system is not-usable, is because of a different constraint. This constraint, in fact it has nothing to do with the design and once realized, we are able to surface this knowledge and address it appropriately. This concept magnified times 10, to the business, is the a problem we are solving at ThoughtWorks. That is to say, when a business identifies an issue and has not yet figured out how to address it, we help the business learn about this problem and identify the solution, together.

Where does UX tie into this?

Almost always, a business’ problem has to do with users. Example: I was working with a client earlier this year that build really cool hardware. They employed us to help solve a problem, but as they began they realized they didn’t have much information on their users. They fully embraced user experience design, but only at the development level, so the UX techniques were not applied to the business. As a result, their solution was not tailored to their users. This caused all sorts of problems from a HUGE backlog of stories to confusion around prioritization. Together we partnered to approach the business solution from a user centered perspective. I was suddenly working with the CMO and the CTO directly to create a common ground for which our problem would be solved. It was THRILLING! Honestly, it was like “convincing the business that UX design matters.” However in this case it was sharing my knowledge about users, how to learn about them and the way that they must be integrated into the business solution.

So what is next for UX?

I see much more of this happening in our future. Moving closer to the business while maintaining a relationship with technology, will be a new skill that we must acquire. In addition, we will need to know how the business works. Budgets are crucial and stakeholders are even more important. In this approach we still get to work on a cutting edge problem with cool controversial projects, while maintaining our love for the user. I believe it’s a great transformation for “our kind,” and it still allows us to be informed assholes that respect our users.

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November 11, 2013

Toronto

I really love being here for work.

photo (7)

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September 6, 2013

IA and Service Design

At this point, this is something I am working on. The open questions:

1. Should a site’s IA mimic the service of it’s business?

2. If not, how does it differ? i.e. environment, device.. etc?

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September 3, 2013

UXMad this weekend

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July 15, 2013

New UX Matters Post

http://uxmatters.com/mt/archives/2013/07/user-experience-quality-assurance-usability.php

 

User Experience + Quality Assurance = Usability

By Riley Graham

Published: July 8, 2013

- See more at: http://uxmatters.com/mt/archives/2013/07/user-experience-quality-assurance-usability.php#sthash.EGK2GR5G.dpuf

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July 8, 2013

Interested in Agile Design at ThoughtWorks?

Relax. Engage. Refresh.

uxmad.com/speakers#lrileygraham

UXMad is a one-track conference where agile design meets elegant function. With two full days featuring speakers from near and far, the conference will showcase the assets of the passionate local UX community and allow Madison visitors a chance to experience one of the best, brainiest and least-expensive places in the United States to live and work. Come for UX inspiration. Stay for the cheese.

 

 

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June 17, 2013