The Google Gods Listen. Give Thanks.

The Google gods are benevolent and generous. They care for us and are always listening to our Boolean prayers so that they might deliver the thing we most need at the moment it is most needed.

What? You don’t believe? You doubt the awesome, sometimes terrible, mercy of the Algorithm Almighty? Behold this item presented to me as gift in my morning Google news feed: “The Chekhov Sentence That Contains Almost All of Life” by Joe Fassler, published this very morning at 6am on the Atlantic culture site and tucked neatly in my news feed between headlines about Hurricane Florence and FEMA/ICE funding.

If you’ve been following in recent days, you will know that I’ve been pondering the significance  of Anton Chekov and trying to puzzle out the power of his short story style. I used, just yesterday, the last sentence of Chekhov’s “The Lady with the Dog” to reflect on Chekhov’s ability to start and end a story at an unexpected place. Fassler’s piece is actually an interview with Gary Shteyngart, who offers the last line of “The Lady with the Dog” as an encapsulating statement on the situation of life. The story never ends. The lovers don’t break up. They don’t live happily ever after. They continue to struggle. They struggle because their lives are complicated. They struggle because they are deeply in love. They struggle because they are people and struggle is what people do.

Shteyngart offers the unresolved situation between the lovers as the unresolved situation for writers and parents and husbands and wives and teachers and oh just everybody.

“Personal growth is not some sudden breakthrough that solves everything. Instead, it’s incredibly protracted, hard-won, and painful. If anything, you’re less happy as a result, not more. But you get the sense the characters wouldn’t trade it. The final insight of this ending is that there is no final insight, there is no ending. You only keep on striving, and that’s the beauty.”

The article is short and definitely worth a read. Fassler and Shteyngart offer more insight about Chekhov in a few paragraphs than I could muster in a week of thought and two blog posts.

Truly, I say, the Google gods love us. They are listening. They provide a news feed both rich and bountiful. Give thanks.

Email is Not My Job

Email is not my job. It is a tool I use to do my job. At least, that’s what I tell myself. And yet, more and more often, I find myself spending most of my time writing, answering, filing and deleting emails. It has gotten absurd.

I’m not alone. The problem of email overload is so bad, my college is drafting policies to try and define who can email who and the rules for using email in the workplace. The policy won’t help. Email is a useful, but limited, communication tool. We overuse it and try to make our emails do things for us they were never intended to do.

The problem with email is that messages are wickedly easy to send and, on the receiving end, wickedly difficult to deal with. Handling my email inbox usually feels like hand to hand combat with somebody else’s to do list. Every email brings with it a decision. Do I reply? Do I delegate this? Does this person really need my response? Is the sender really a person anyway or is it just a semi-clever software program spewing invitations to review someone’s latest [fill in the blank]. Many messages get deleted. Others get flagged. Some get answered or delegated. Every email is a decision. It is exhausting.

Enough is enough. I’m building some new rules for myself regarding email. I want efficiency. I want clarity. I want control.

My brother manages manufacturing workflow processes. He treats his inbox like a project. Everything that comes in gets immediately color coded. Certain senders (his boss, his boss’s boss) are colored special colors to help them stand out. Every message is quickly reviewed for action type and given a color category using Outlook’s category options. One color for urgent. Another color for not urgent. Anything that doesn’t deserve a color is deleted.

I’ve been working with this idea for a week now. I already have my most important email senders pushed into a priority, VIP email folder. Messages from my boss, my staff and my related work teams get pushed to the VIP folder. Messages in this folder can be viewed as a group. They also display on my iPad as a special alert to help me keep track.

All incoming messages are quickly scanned for possible action. Easy things get answered or addressed right away. Most things aren’t easy and require a color. Red for urgent. Pink for important but not urgent. Green for waiting for an answer or more information. Purple for things to read.

My new rule: every message gets scanned and immediately answered, deleted or categorized. I then use Outlook category filters to view my urgent emails all together. This helps me prioritize my work for the day. After those are gone, I will view the important, but not urgent set. Some day, in theory, I will read the purple items labeled to read.

It isn’t a perfect system. I’m still not entirely in control of my inbox but, after a week of using categories and filters, I already find myself less stressed about the hemorrhaging inbox. I’m dealing with the things that need my attention most a little more quickly. At least, I think I am.

I still need to fine tune the system. Today, I added another step. I close my email software when I’m not actively using it. Today, I read email first thing in the morning, again mid-morning and then right before lunch. I opened email midafternoon and then once more before I left for the day. The rest of the time email stayed closed.

From time to time, one of my VIP senders showed an alert on my iPad. I glanced quickly over to determine if the message was urgent, knowing that truly urgent things always arrive via phone call or text message.

It felt good to close my email when I wasn’t actively using it. I felt more in control.

I have written about my personal struggles with email before. You may think I’m daft. You may think I’m making things too complicated. The truth is I’m just trying to feel more in control and capture that feeling that email is a tool I use rather than a tool than uses me.

You may be reading this and feeling upset because you’ve sent me an email or 5 and haven’t yet gotten a response. Try not to be upset. There’s a good chance your email to me has a pink cast, in which case I’ll get to it.

There is also, of course, a chance that your email(s) have been deleted. If that’s the case, you are going to need to decide how many emails you want to send me to try and get my attention. My new rules are still young so I’m not sure how they will play out. I am declaring a kind of war here. Email is not my job. It is a tool I use to help me do my job.

I need your help. What rules or processes do you use to manage your email? Comments most welcome.

The Way We Get News

A few minutes ago I sat down to write an entirely different post. My attention was caught by a friends’ comment on another friends Facebook post. That post asked prayers for the children of Oklahoma. Dreading news of yet another school shooting, I Googled “Oklahoma news”, trusting that the top hits would be from the Google News feed. It wasn’t a school shooting. It was a massive tornado, a mile wide, that traveled straight through Oklahoma City. This happened a few hours ago.

The news article contained a captured tweet from Oklahoma’s Governor Mary Fallin. The tweet used the hashtag #okwx. I followed the tag to a real-time stream of comments, links and backyard photos of the tornadoes path.

Much has been written about Twitter and Facebook as a source of breaking news. I’m not sure I have much to add to that conversation, except “yes”.

I am struck by how far I have come from the way I used to get my news. I stopped watching televised news several years ago when the steady tide of breaking news became too much and overtaxed my nervous system. At that time, I trusted NPR to deliver the news I needed via radio. During times of national crisis or local emergency, I knew that NPR would prime me to pay attention where attention was warranted.

Late last year, I became obsessed with  podcasts, which now occupy my entire commute to work and back again. I don’t watch TV news. I don’t habitually listen to radio news. I have stopped reading newspapers and really don’t even follow newspapers blogs or Twitter feeds. I am off the media news grid. And yet, I still keep informed.

I use news curation tools like Zite, Feedly and Flipboard to push important stories up to my attention. This keeps me relatively well-informed about day to day updates. I fill in the cracks with media podcasts like On the Media to help me make sense of larger trends and find stories I missed.

The gap here is breaking news. Today, for the first time, I realized that I trust my social networks to let me know when something big is going down, and that I am okay with that.

I don’t need to know every last detail as it becomes revealed. I don’t need to watch wreckage porn to know things are bad. I just want to know what is happening, what is being done to respond and what I can do to help.

I am really interested in how people discover, interpret and receive their news. I am especially interested in those patterns of behavior as information habits. Where do you get your news? How have your news habits changed? Comments are most welcome.

Keep the people of Oklahoma in your thoughts. They are going to need our help for many years to come.

Becoming well-informed

Yesterday’s post about information rituals missed the point. I was working with the idea of information rituals as intentional, useful information habits. Yesterday’s post was a screed written by a madman, crippled  by the compulsive need to stash web links in the virtual nooks and crannies of his web space in the misguided belief that there will someday be enough time to visit them all, watch them all, read them all and use them all. There won’t be enough time and there won’t be a point. Yesterday’s post was more about link hoarding than about information rituals.

Yesterday’s post failed to consider this: why bother? The goal of link catching, organizing and follow-up can’t be to visit them all. There is no point to that. The web is immense and growing on a scale far beyond the human mind. Before we can consider useful information habits, we need to consider the goal. What are we trying to accomplish?

You can’t learn everything. You can’t be interested in everything. If you are, you certainly can’t invest your attention equally in all directions.

Information rituals should help a person benefit from their information streams: Facebook, Twitters, blog feeds, social bookmarks, emails and so on. The benefit is gathering the raw materials needed to be well-informed.

Being well-informed means seeing an idea or event from many different directions. Being well-informed means having a sense of understanding about a thing, how that thing relates to my life and how that relationship changes over time. Being well-informed is about gathering resources that help you make good decisions. Being well-informed helps you set goals, plan actions and assess outcomes. Being well-informed helps you lend value to others who can benefit from your specialized knowledge and focus.

And so, before I can think about developing useful information rituals, I need to establish my purpose. What is it about which I wish to become well-informed? This, it seems, will determine the most suitable rituals to cultivate.

So here’s the list of things about which I am trying to stay well-informed. These are more than just recreational interests. These are events, themes or concepts about which I need to become and remain well-informed in order to accomplish my larger goals. Here they are, in no particular order:

  • writing: as an action and a process
  • libraries: why we need them, how they operate, what they do
  • leadership theory and practice
  • books: what is being published, how are those books being received, what is their impact
  • eBooks: emerging publication models and the business of eText,  how reading eBooks compares to reading print books, how to connect readers with eBooks through library collections
  • mobile technologies and their use in education
  • open education: models, platforms, possible goals/outcomes
  • educational technologies: how technology intersects usefully with teaching and learning
  • pedagogy and learning theory: how people learn, how we teach people to learn more effectively; how libraries contribute
  • information theory: what is information, how is it used, how do people seek, find and interact with information
  • changes in web technology
  • social media: how they create communities of interest and how to use them to deliver messages to audiences
  • Buddhism and mindful living
  • parenting
  • creativity and things that inspire people to accomplish useful goals
  • politics and political action
  • world news
  • local news

Ah. I begin to see the problem. This is a very broad list, and I know the list is incomplete. I am trying to wrap my mind around too much. I am becoming somewhat informed in a number of these areas but am not being purposeful enough in finding where these areas overlap. I am sipping from streams of information that pertain to all of this but not focusing intention on developing deep knowledge.

I need to pare down my daily information diet. I need to identify the most beneficial sources of information in these specific areas, find places where these overlap and pursue those channels with greater focus. This might mean dropping some blog feeds. This might mean reshaping my Twitter feeds. I need to raise the criteria I use to screen what sources I try to follow to increase the value of time spent with each.

I do realize that this thread of posts may seem crazy. What I am talking about here is cultivating a mindful approach to information overload. We all suffer. We can all benefit from new habits. I suspect in the future, the ability to quickly filter information, screen out background noise and act quickly on the highest quality information will be a basic requirement for survival.

The mind evolves to survive our circumstances. I believe we can take control of this process. In fact, I believe we have to take control of this process or we will get bewildered, blinded and lost. If we don’t find ways to cultivate useful information rituals, we will become more and more poorly informed in the most information rich time our species has yet seen.

Information Rituals

Update (11march2013) – This post misses the point. I consider this a first, misguided draft. I am still working with the idea of information rituals. Step one: figure out what information rituals need to accomplish.

****

I need to develop new information rituals. My current habits are not working for me. I have three email accounts — one personal, one for work, and one Gmail for capturing data posted to web forms. All three have become link hives,   hundreds of emails with nothing but unvisited links to sites I need or want to visit.

My email situation, though tragic, is not uncommon. But then consider the other places I have stashed unvisited links:

  • Google Bookmarks
  • starred posts in Google Reader
  • favorited tweets
  • Evernote for articles that require some action
  • Instapaper for articles to read during downtime
  • ScoopIt for articles to share with others
  • PDFs scattered across iBooks, Adobe Reader for iPad, Blue Fire and Dropbox

This is a mess. I not in control. If unvisited weblinks were physical objects, you would be watching my tearful family on Hoarders begging me to let these links go and just live a simple, uncluttered kind of life. I cannot let them go. I need these links. These links have something for me, some small but essential insight.

The problem here is discipline. My information habits lack purpose and rigor. My information habits are thoughtless and unexamined. I need clarity. I need a streamlined system that makes sense, and then, I need to develop the rigor required to operate and protect the system.

In case you haven’t noticed yet, I am kissed with a little bit of OCD. Some people wash incessantly. Some people drink or do drugs. Some people are compulsive about light switches. My manias are list-making and link catching.

I can’t stop catching interesting links. I am a librarian. I work on the web. I am online all day. I get interested in things. I share links. People share links with me. It is the nature of what I do.

I need a better system for organizing my link hoards into coherent clusters that can be dealt with, delegated or deleted.

I need new information rituals.

Something like this:

  • Only keep Google bookmarks that matter. If a link gets tagged read or explore, then read or explore that link. Delete the links that don’t matter.
  • Triage all interesting emailed links into one place. Maybe a folder inside one email account or a dedicated email account. Funnel all emailed links to that one place and prune that one place ruthlessly. Bookmark the links that matter. Delete all emails.
  • Do not favorite tweets or star items from your Google feed. Push them to the folder and deal with them when there’s time. Bookmark then delete.
  • Keep Evernote clean for links that require some follow-up or associate to a particular project, like this blog.
  • Read Instapaper articles daily.
  • Push all PDFs to iBooks because iBooks allows annotation and also allows organizing features on bookshelves. Adobe Reader and BlueFire  have no organizing features to prevent the tumble. Dropbox is crowded with other things.

There are the tenets of the faith. Here’s the ritual:

  • Read Facebook and Twitter in the morning, preferably via Flipboard. Push links as needed.
  • Read Google Feeds at lunch. Push links as needed.
  • Read ScoopIt in the late afternoon. Push links as needed.
  • Read Evernote before blogging in the evening. This is where the blogging ideas get saved.
  • Visit Google Bookmarks for new sites and to delete unneeded bookmarks.
  • Read Instapaper with evening leisure time.
  • Read PDFs as needed.

Fascinating. This is completely unsustainable and I sound like a complete lunatic.

Okay, you get the idea. I’m stopping now.

I need to think a bit more about the idea of information rituals, those habits of searching, finding, clicking and reading that get us through the day.

What are your information rituals? How well do they work for you?

Libraries are Relevance Machines

Note (11am on 23feb2013): I was frustrated with some of the ideas in this post and took another pass on this. See it here.

***

I had a fascinating conversation with my teacher friends today about what libraries are for. More specifically, we talked about what they need their library to do for them.

I have written about this before, but today’s conversation placed things in a new light for me. Not so long ago, libraries were places for information. Libraries collected the best information, kept it organized and ready for use when needed. This was the information warehouse model. Libraries collected the best books and housed them in buildings organized by myriad, fetishized principles that made information discovery a pretty efficient endeavor, once a person understood how the systems worked.

The Internet changed all that. We no longer expect to have go someplace to discover information. Information comes to us. Lots of information, in fact. Floods of information. So much information that our world is a noisy, busy, sometimes terrifying place. For the most part, we don’t have to dig too hard to find basic facts, get data or discover opinions.

We have a new problem. Since most information seems so easy to get, it is difficult to compare multiple pieces of information and assign meaning or value to it. Put another way, now that information is so easy to get, all information appears equal. It is far more challenging to discern which information is likely to be most useful or relevant to a particular need. It is more difficult to take that information and create useful knowledge.

Here’s the part where I tell you that I work and teach in a community college library and that this gives me permission to overgeneralize about “kids these days”. Here goes. College students are still smart, but they aren’t curious. Many don’t naturally invest themselves in their own learning. They expect learning to be something that is given to them by a teacher, probably through a series of lectures with accompanying Powerpoint lecture notes. They do not ask questions. They prepare themselves for the project, paper or exam without ever really wondering why they are doing this. Many of these students grew up believing that curiosity was bad because it interfered with the transfer of content required to get them ready for the next standardized assessment.

They don’t see connections, and they are not alone. Many of us are drowning in the information we encounter as random, unrelated factoids or tidbits. Watch a newscast sometime, and then ask yourself, “What am I supposed to understand from this about the world?”

We need to encourage students to be curious. We need to connect them to their own learning. It seems to me that the library is a place that can reward curiosity and foster connection. We can do this by showcasing connections between abstract concepts and everyday life. We can do this by curating collections of books, articles and video to tell a story. We can do this by focusing less on the mechanics of information discovery tools and focusing more on helping people identify and solve problems that matter to them.

Libraries should continue to collect resources, objects and artifacts that best address information needs. Libraries should continue to preserve the integrity of the scholarly and cultural conversations for the benefit of generations to come. We should do these things and do them well. But we should be always mindful that we do these things as a way to gather the tools to meet our true obligation. Our real work is rewarding curiosity and helping people create their own connections.

Swimming in Media

Today I switched from limited basic cable TV to satellite TV. I went from having 13 channels I never watched to more than 140, of which I will probably mostly watch 13.

I still carry Netflix streaming service as well as the DVD by mail.

I have 17,111 songs in my iTunes library. I could listen to these songs continuously for 50 days straight without repeating once. I currently carry 3492 of these songs with me on my iPod. I have another 50 CDs to rip. I have accounts with Pandora, Last.fm and Spotify. I hope to get iTunes gift cards for Christmas so I can buy more music.

I have 325 apps on my iPad and 317 apps on my iPhone.  I downloaded 4 of these today and side-listed another 5 for possible future purchase.

I follow 19 different podcasts with 120 unlistened episodes.

I follow 147 blogs via Google Reader, FeedlerRSS and Flipboard. This does not include the articles I find from Twitter, Facebook and Zite.

There are 5 books stacked up on my Read This Next shelf along with 13 DVDs to watch. This does not include the dozen or so phantom eBooks sitting on my Kindle, Nook app and other readers.

At some point, this all seems a bit excessive. My experience is not typical. I know lots of people with more TV channels, multiple streaming services, more books, more DVDs and hugely larger iTunes libraries. This is more media than a person can consume in an entire lifetime and still it rolls in and I accept it gratefully.

I read Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death a few months ago and worry sometimes that he is right to fret about our current trajectory. Maybe the surfeit of media represents an insatiable urge to be entertained and distracted. Maybe the lure of all this stuff is rotting our brains and diminishing our powers of focus and sustained seriousness. Maybe the inevitable outcome is a lethal level of amusement.

There is, I think, another possibility. Maybe this stuff makes us more powerful.

Our minds are made to process information and make new information. Our minds crave information and constantly seek input to synthesize new ways of understanding ourselves and our environment. Humans have never lived in a time so filled with sources of input. Our information reach is enormous and our powers of synthesis continue to grow. We were an oral culture, then a textual culture and then a visual culture. Our urge for story underlies all of these cultural ages. We need story. We crave story. We constantly create story and share with everyone who will listen.

Now our culture is oral and textual and visual and tactile. The sensory inputs are vast and our appetite for story expands to meet the opportunity of new technologies. We are awash in media, at times practically drowning in it and yet we find it is not enough. We are fed and we feed in turn. We take the raw materials of the TV shows, music, podcasts, blogs, books and apps and turn them into new thoughts, new perceptions, stories that help shape the way we understand our world. We will have to be open to new ideas about story and what story looks like. We will have to be open to a generous understand of what creativity looks like and recognize that all people are creative because being creative is an inherently human trait.

I am losing the sense of this post and see that I need more time to work through this idea. Case in point, of course. That is exactly what this blog is for — a place where I can work through my ideas aloud and hopefully get those ideas improved with the ideas and insights of others.

My question: Does the media deluge portend a sickness in our cultural soul, or are these the first manifest artifacts of a profound increase in our capacity to tell and share story?

Comments very welcome.

 

 

More Thoughts on Opportunity Cost

Last night’s post on opportunity cost missed the point. Technology doesn’t create or increase opportunity cost. Our technology makes us hyperaware of opportunity costs in real time.

Last night’s post dwelt a bit too much on the fear of missing out on social things — trip to the beach, dinner at a restaurant. Guess I was feeling a bit sorry for myself. For me, this isn’t about social anxiety or jealousy. It is about how I manage the information flood.

Examples:

  • every minute spent on Facebook on my smartphone while standing in a room with people is a moment not spent talking to people standing with me
  • following comments and links of professional interest on Twitter limits the time I can spend doing the same on RSS feeds, Zite and Scoop.it.
  • writing a blog post means fewer minutes reading that great book
  • catching up on email during a few unbusy moments means having fewer unbusy moments to reflect and see what’s happening around me

You get the idea. The point isn’t that these things are bad. The point is that it is getting more difficult to decide how to spend/not spend my time. I can’t escape the choices.

The choices aren’t new. They have always been with us. Now, we get to see opportunity cost up front. It isn’t so invisible. That is why so many people, self included, find the Social Media/Information Age a bit overwhelming and anxiety-inducing. I haven’t yet mastered the skill of disciplined focus. I haven’t yet mastered the skill of opportunity selection.

These are the skills we need to survive and succeed.

Getting Comfortable with Opportunity Cost

There is a particular kind of anxiety that can come with being Constantly Connected. Natalie Houston describes it well in her Prof Hacker post “Are You Missing Out?” in which Houston explores the anguish du jour: Fear of Missing Out.

I get it.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare, and Pinterest make us instantly aware of what our friends are doing right this moment. That’s kinda nice. The downside: being constantly aware of what my friend are doing becomes constant awareness of what I’m not doing. I’m not at the beach. I’m not at the concert. I’m not eating at the restaurant. More interesting than this petty jealousy is the resulting compulsion to share the trivia of my life so I can participate in the What I’m Doing machine.

Nothing wrong with this in doses. Unchecked, it can make a person neurotic.

Which brings me right around to something I’ve been wrestling with lately. With iPad, iPhone, iPod and social media, I have superhuman powers to communicate, participate and share with the entire world. Literally. I am more well-informed and better positioned to have real influence than ever before. Because of this reach, I am being stretched in more directions than ever before.

I can see for miles in every direction but can’t always seem to easily focus where my attention is most needed. Focus takes effort.

Focus, I think, will become the defining trait of personal and professional success in my years ahead. Time to start practicing the art of applied vision, truly seeing where I look. This is the principle of opportunity cost. Every accepted opportunity limits the ability to pursue another, different opportunity. Our reach is not infinite. I can’t do everything. Time to stop thinking so much about what I am going to do and start marking the harder, more rewarding choices about what I am going to intentionally miss out on.

Facebook is failing me

I don’t Facebook as much as I used to. My apologies to my Facebook friends. I still love you. I just don’t love the Facebook experience as much as I once did. I still check in many times throughout the day. I still post status updates, share pictures and video of my daughter and links to interesting articles. I check-in at places and share new blog posts, books I’m reading and, occassionally, the music I’m listening to. I still enjoy that part of everything.

But I am finding it very difficult to keep up with other people. The people I most want to see are getting buried beneath the Other Stuff. At the moment, I use Facebook much like a publishing platform. I’d like to use it as a way to keep in touch with friends.

I think there are two main reasons this is happening: 1) Facebook isn’t mobile friendly and 2) I forget to use the curated feeds.

Facebook isn’t mobile friendly. Both the iPhone and iPad apps are wretched. This is a problem since I do most of my Facebooking on my phone and tablet. To be fair, both are actually great in allowing me to post statuses, share pictures and video directly from my phone’s camera roll and check-in places. I get real-time notifications when people like, comment, message or post to my Wall. This is all terrific, which is why I do these things a lot. What I don’t do a lot is visit other people’s news feeds. They don’t render well on either the iPhone or iPad. The feeds are cumbersome to explore and can be difficult to comment on. I usually scroll a few screens, hit “like” a dozen times and move on to something else. Not good friend behavior.

I have tried using Facebook in Safari, which is somewhat better than the app interface but still isn’t fully functional. The Timeline UI renders rather poorly and it takes  a while for things down the page to load. Not good.

From time to time, I try to adjust to these problems by using a third party platform like HootSuite or Flipboard. Both help me see posts I would otherwise miss but neither feel like real Facebook experiences. I am open to suggestions here.

The problem with other people’s feeds became most pronounced about a year ago when Facebook changed the way they ranked news feeds. I started getting a lot more random posts than posts from the friends with whom I was most engaged. Not sure what they changed in the news feed algorithm, but it made my Facebook experience less coherent, not more. At the same time, they made Facebook less friendly by adding the javascript real-time crawler in the upper right-hand corner. This does not display at all on the mobile browser versions. Confusing.

Tonight, I rediscovered the smart lists on the left that allow me to customize feeds to lift friends into focused group categories that hopefully make them more manageable. Not sure how I missed that fact. I’m going to give list making another try. Hopefully, I will begin seeing more posts and engaging with friends more meaningfully. Until then, Facebook peeps, know that I love you and wish you the best, even if I haven’t liked your posts in a while.

How do you use Facebook? Do you curate lists? Visit specific friends’ Walls directly? Visit all friends’ Walls regularly? I’m looking for practical advice here. I’m not sure how Facebook became strange to me. I need help becoming a better friend.