Sunday, March 30, 2014

on social media and friendships, quality of life, a reflective

hello friends,

internet has not allowed me to post pics from my Kindle lately even though i have them to share. only 2 more months till we're in real Internet land again. so, sorry but i did not want to stay silent.

i've been having some reflective thoughts lately, a lot of them centered around maintaining real friendships in this new era (to me) of social media. i haven't truly heard from any of my core group of friends in ages, though i must admit that i'm not much better. i did recently send some of them postcards (in the real mail). the funny thing is, they don't seem to be online much, either. so their lives stay dark to me. and that's hard when some of us are scattered in faraway miles. when i was much younger, i wrote frequent letters to my sixth-grade best friend who moved one state over. for a long time until we just naturally drifted apart, we stayed very close this way, even visiting each other from time to time as our parents allowed.

then there are the people who i knew in real life at some point that i've made some positive connections with on facebook, more so than we ever did when we knew each other in real life. i don't want to lose those, in fact i'd like to continue to communicate -- swap recipes, etc. to those people, i'll probably provide with my blog and email as well as snail mail addresses. i'm really not a phone person, in fact i'm considering going down to a pay per use type phone (no texting) and getting a landline at home when we move this summer. facebook ... even since i've gone down to fewer than 50 friends, it still "suggests" pages and posts i like, people post inane quizzes and quotes, etc., and it's basically a time-waster apart from the tiny bits of meaningful connection i've managed to find there.

i also think it might just be time for me to make a few new friends where we are going. this isn't easy for me as a super happy introvert, but i do think it's necessary. for potluck suppers, mama (one day) gatherings, and the like.

in the end, i'm also trying to build my attention span up again to what it was (or as close as possible) when i was younger. i try to spend my days focused on DOING things i enjoy, knitting and reading and cooking and baking. today i read a REAL book, with paper pages, for two hours. that felt so liberating. sad, right? but true. even i, who spend less time online than just about anybody i know, have suffered the negative consequences of too much screen time.

here's what i do on the computer on any given day.

candy crush
checking news articles, mostly a few glances around CNN
blog reading and updating
facebook ... the feed, need i say more? scrollscrollscroll (thank goodness for 48 "friends")
ravelry (knitting website)
look up recipes
manage my ongoing menu plans/shopping lists
and, because i have a strange hobby of checking up on missing people/conspiracy theories, i tend to get sucked into those types of stories and message boards.

in full honesty, that's what i do on the internet. i also suffer from that from one window to another syndrome, something makes me wonder, so i click, the same thing happens again, i click, next thing i know i've navigated through dozens of windows and hours of REAL time have elapsed. i don't want to do all of these activities every day, to be honest i'd like to see my computer turned off more often than not. i'd like to have it on just once a week. i have a kindle that does all the same stuff but really the reason i got it was so it could be easier to cook in the kitchen using a bookmarked recipe or doing knitting using a bookmarked pattern. not to mindlessly surf the net or get sucked into games on a daily basis and don't get me started on how instantaneously people expect you to return emails ...

if you've made it this far, thank you! it's just been something i guess i needed to get off my chest. i keep thinking, "what will you do with your one precious life?" and realizing more and more one answer is, "be offline." and BE ENGAGED. with real people and reality. to sleep knowing i've worked with my REAL HANDS, whether at something that interests me, or challenges me, or both. i want a long attention span again, even if this means subscribing to offline pubs like the new yorker rather than scanning through virtual text. seriously, i can't even read indepth online articles anymore without getting all jumpy and antsy and wanting to skip around or "read more later" while clicking to another window. this is scary stuff, folks. do any of you ever reflect on it?

i guess that's the stuff of this post. for now. stay tuned ....

love and light,

1 comment:

  1. Karen,
    I think this is such a common, modern phenomenon and it is pervasive and challenging! I'm in school for library information technology and the huge challenges libraries are facing seem to all have to do with digital information. Plus, I'm actually taking the whole course online - convenient, but not as soul-satisfying, kwim? So, I "know" my classmates, but have never had the opportunity to have real conversations with any of them.

    So, I sort of feel forced into a "can't beat 'em, join 'em" state at the present. I look forward to the day when I work in a brick and mortar library and I can have real interactions with real people someday!

    Glad you're not giving up blogging any time soon, though. On the other hand, there's so much to consume out there that I think that's all people do for the most part, and even the conversational tone of blogs gets lost: you get page views, but no comments, for instance. :/

    Limits seem to be the key. Not getting sucked in is hard, but I am trying to stick to certain places that I visit regularly to work on developing real relationships. But, I TOTALLY get the clicking phenomenon and suffer from it myself from time to time too.