Accentuating The Postive. Eliminating The Negative

Social Media Landscape

Today’s Reverb10 prompt is: what do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing –and can you eliminate it.

Of course the answer is: All my internet addictions: facebook, twitter, email, blog reading.  Sometimes I tell myself that the blog reading in particular gets my juices going, gets my mind thinking in bloggy ways, and while that does happen sometimes, it happens far more often when I read books.  So I’d be better off spending the time reading rather than wasting time online.

Most of what I do online is avoidance behavior, but a lot of it is also voyeuristic.  I want to see what other people are doing with their time, with their lives. I want to know what their “obsessions du jour” are. Do I want to know these things in order to be inspired?  To feel companionship? To feel connected?   All of the above?  None?

If it is connection I crave, who am I connected to?  And how deep are those connections?  When I have to answer that question, the truth is revealed.

But if I were to be really and truly honest I’d have to say that  I spend time online because it is just plain fun.  It makes me happy.  It has always made me happy, from the first day I opened an email account back in ’93 or ’94, until this day.

I have always loved my computers, my babies, and  I have always loved the internet. I have always wanted to know more about the  innards of these magic machines, and I have always been frustrated with the limits of my knowledge about them. I have even dreamed of going to study web design.  I purely and simply just dig it the whole scene.  It has provided me with hours and hours of happy.

But it is, without question, a time suck.   I’ve tried limiting myself to a daily portion of online “calories” of its yumminess but as with food, computer diets never work.

I’ve also tried “media fasting” where I unplug for a weekend, or just a day, and that definitely feels good.  Once I’m off, I don’t really miss it all that much. (For a while.)

So for me it’s a matter of limiting it rather than eliminating it.  I don’t want to eliminate it because if it were not for social media and blog reading I would never have found 750 words, where the idea for this post was born, or the reverb10 challenge that’s keeping me disciplined, and many other sites and people who have really enriched my life.

And if  I weren’t so in love and entranced with computers, I know I wouldn’t have a a website, or a blog, or the ability to make a podcast. I like that I can operate fairly competently in this whizzy world.  I like having these skillzzzz.

But the thing is, if I am, in my heart of hearts, a writer.  If I am, in the deepy-downy recesses of my soul, a person who loves words and yoga and the connection between the two, then there needs to be more time spent writing on 750 words, and blogging on this blog, and writing in my paper journal, and less time cruising around aimlessly, wasting gas online. I need to discipline myself to leave the internet and go into the yoga room and play on the mat and make discoveries there, so when I come back I have something to say.

The content for blogs and tweets and facebook status updates–at least content that’s interesting and sometimes even helpful for others, can most reliably be found for me when I go and DO things, and MAKE THINGS HAPPEN, and create CHANGE.

Whenever I think, “I have nothing to write about,” that should be the red flag to STEP AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER and go live life:  read a book, have a conversation, do some yoga, workout, write.  I don’t want to eliminate social media, I just need to use it better.  I need to put a little fence around it with a sign that says: Playground Hours are from blank to blank.  I need to be doing more living so I’ll have a better chance to be able to share  something useful and valuable here.

So here’s a little Aretha to give it to you a bit more soulfully:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4IP9h40z0sk&feature=related

Blogs

I love blogs. I read a lot of them too, and am inspired and blown away by them.

On most of the blogs I read, I am what is known as a “lurker.”  I just read and never comment. I don’t know why, I just don’t.  But today I read a post and felt like responding to the writer, so I wrote her a little “fan” comment, telling her how much I enjoy her writing and the things she shares.

But when I hit “send” I got caught up in some registration crap that I didn’t have time to fill out, so I just aborted the comment. Now she’ll never know how much I like her blog.

I also won’t do the deciphering of the trippy letters to prove that I’m not a robot.  If your blogging software doesn’t allow your readers to comment freely (mediated comments are okay) on your blog, you really need to change platforms.

And this aborted comment episode was followed by a notification that someone was following me on Twitter.  But when I went to see this person’s profile in order to determine if I wanted to follow back, it was locked.  I had to send a “special request’ to see this person’s profile and ‘tweet” history.

No.  Not gonna do it.  It’s ridiculous.

Doesn’t this defeat the purpose of Twitter??  If you have to ‘lock” your “Tweets” don’t even bother, will ya?  It’s ridiculous!  It’s social media, people!  If you want to have private conversations with selected people, just email them for goddsakes!  Don’t Twitter, you twit!

Oh, and while I’m on a rant here, here’s something that bugs me about Facebook.  Don’t write a status update that goes like this:  “Feeling really pissed today.”  Or: “I am so disappointed in life.”  Don’t do that, k?  If you express a strong emotion, good or bad, elaborate a little!  Don’t force people to feel like they have to ask, “What’s wrong?”  It’s a shameless bid for attention.  It’s what pouty first graders do. It’s juvenile.  Don’t update at all if you can’t elaborate, k?

(end of rant.)

So where was I?  Yes. Blogs.  I read quite a few, so tonight I finally got around to putting some of my daily reads on my sidebar under (what else?) “Blogroll.”

I wish all my friends would blog!  Some of them do, and I love them and listed them (mouse over the title of the blogs to read my little descriptions of them), as well as some really famous bloggers that you probably already know about.

If you happen to know of a blog you think I ought to check out, let me know, okay?

I am always looking for even more reasons to defer the really important and crucial task I should be doing.