The new year has begun, which means you have officially made it to the future... again. It's that time of year when the Internet blooms with lists of resolutions, sufficiently shaming you into making change in your life... at least for a few weeks. You promise to get organized, lose weight, be a better person, quit your bad habits and spend more time with friends and family. But why rehash the same old bound-to-fail IRL vows, when there are a plethora of resolutions tailor-made for your digital life?
Don't Mix Meals and Tech
Seriously, switch on the do not disturb setting or shut it off. Sit down and enjoy your food and those long awkward pauses that come from forgetting how to have face to face conversations. Giving yourself some offline time, it will make you appreciate the gifts of digital privilege all the more.
Stop Googling Yourself
Unless you're testing the SEO (search engine optimization) work on your new personal site, stop Googling yourself. Just set up a few Google alerts with your name or that of your project or company and let Google do the embarrassing work of stalking your online ego for you. (But if you're going to do it anyway, at least use an incognito window so you get more accurate results.)
Update Your Profile Pictures
It's the first month of a new year, update your profile pictures. You might consider showing people what you actually look like. Especially if you're still using that one perfectly angled pic from five years ago. Be generous with your actual face, share it with the world.
Unless you are a super-committed daytime television watcher, it's time to cut the cord with cable. With a huge range of programming options from Hulu Plus, Netflix, iTunes, and Amazon Prime, you can stop paying for hundreds of channels you never watch and start picking the few shows you are actually interested in. And hey, if none of those providers work for you there's always good old-fashioned unblocking plugins like Hola!, which lets you watch the BBC to your heart's content. #sherlocklives!
Down with New
I have a backlog of articles I want to read so deep that I will probably never get through it. But you know what? I don't care. To all those people telling me to clear it out and start over. Nay I say! Nay! Even online, newer is not always better. Stop being so obsessed with the next big thing and just read something, anything, even if its from 2007. *gasp*
Live in the Moment (Use More Snapchat)
Snapchat is a photo and video sharing app with a twist. The sender chooses a time limit for how long the receiver can look at the post. When the times up the post is gone... forever. Snapchat puts the right now back in our digital lives. It encourages you to pay attention, focus, be here right now. We live with an Internet that lets you save and cache and screenshoot and hashtag and share every single thing ever! It lets you skim and skip and glaze over because we know that article or image will be there tomorrow or even a year from now. But Snapchat asks you to be engaged in the present moment. Enjoy it.
Clean Up Your Social Sites
Delete unwanted Facebook friends. Unfollow anyone you always skip past on Twitter. Unsubscribe to any YouTube channels you never watch. Free yourself from the clutter of annoying acquaintances. Don't worry they probably won't notice anyway.
Have you seen the Internet lately? It's brimming with places to share your creations. Got an idea for a meme? Check out MemeMarker or QuickMeme. Want to get feedback on a short story or poem you've been working on? ABCTales is a great place to get started reading and getting read by other authors. Share your art on DeviantArt; make your first game on Sploder; whip up a video on your favorite topic for YouTube; write an article for Medium. There is a community out there for just about everything. Share what you love to make or try something new.
Use Better Tools
Humans (and New Caledonian crows apparently) like making tools. They make life's tasks easier and more effective, letting us do things that were unimaginable without them. There are online tools for everything nowadays. Mind42 is a free mind mapping site for all your brainstorming needs. Filemail lets you send huge files (up to 30GB) to anyone for free and without the frustrating limitations of Dropbox. Or maybe you just need a simple way to keep track of your pesky pancreas. Well there's an app for that, My Sugr. If you have a screw that needs tightening, there is a screwdriver out there just for you.
Automate, It's the Way of the Future
Having to manage social network posts over so many sites your brain has begun to feel like swiss cheese? Use IFTTT to automate everything. Use it to create cascading social network posts, save your Instagram images to Dropbox, or even automatically tweet a string of cold-related adjectives every time it snows in your zip code.
Happy Interneting in 2014!