Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, is a day of excess and celebration that many will take up and enjoy regardless of the meaning behind it, while ignoring the sacrifice that is to come with it in the following days and weeks. Lent needs not to be a religious observance, nor does one need to be Christian to adhere to it. Everyone can take time to kick a habit that may be unhealthy, time consuming, or simply annoying. It is also more likely than not that your New Year’s Resolution has gone by the wayside, so here is the perfect chance to regroup and focus. In the year 2011, there is no reason not to try to and shake some bad social habits.
With that, here are five resolutions for the connected generation to sacrifice for the next forty days.
Stop going to YouTube without a purpose
Arguably the original social media time waster, heading to YouTube rarely ever ends well. It is where productivity goes to die. If you are going to waste time watching videos, have specific videos in mind. Don’t go searching for the next big thing for hours on end. Now, it is hard to ignore YouTube completely (though go right ahead) with its music videos, news, talk shows, and other pop culture ephemera always just a click away. Still, try to limit yourself to a certain amount of videos a day, and certainly don’t go wandering.
No more iPhone v. Blackberry debate
Everybody who has a smart phone loves to tell you how amazing it is and how you should get the same one. Some arguments will never accomplish anything. Blackberry people will embrace BBM, and the ability to organize contacts, emails, and business information, while iPhone people will attack it’s elitism, complexity of interface, and lack of applications. Apple folks will laud the myriad of games and programs, the popularity, and the simplicity, while those who favor Pearls and Curves will point out how expensive the iPhone is, and curse Apple’s monopoly and simplicity. Let’s just give up. People decided long ago what camp they were going to be in. Just like Lost.
Stop wishing Happy Birthday via Facebook
Is it that hard to call someone, or send a private email or message? The least heartfelt way to say Happy Birthday has to be the Facebook message (with the most being a scoreboard announcement during a sporting event). Stop taking three seconds out of your day to write a three to five word wall post and take 60 seconds to call the person or find a personalized e-greeting. If it helps, you can announce your social media resolution on Facebook to get noticed.
That means no trending, or trying to trend, or pretending to trend. See if you can go forty days by creating original thoughts, jokes, or commentary without having to explain it to people through hashtags. This means no more #tigerblood, #winning, or #marchmadness, which is sure to come. The truth is that these things are trends for a reason, meaning they usually go away as quickly as they come.
Give Up Angry Birds
The chocolate of apps, Angry Birds is ever-addictive and time-consuming, and it seems to be expanding exponentially. It is to be on Facebook soon, and in the meantime it has become a cultural meme. Conan even did a live skit on his show last week. So if you are feeling mostly intrepid and looking to prove your worth in discipline, go forth and concede Angry Birds.