You might have already guessed this about me, but I love social media. Although last week I advocated for reading old books, this week I’m advocating for using new technology, and I think that’s totally consistent. In fact, wrestling with internet usage is a big part of this blog, as you can read here, here, and here.
A few weeks ago I read this article which argues for the fact that you can no longer say the internet isn’t “real life.” And I’ve seen an increasing number of posts and news articles about people disconnecting (like this freshly pressed post from october 31st). It’s also not uncommon to run into news stories about extreme cases of people dying from too much internet, or simply becoming addicted to internet usage.
So, where’s the balance in all of this? (remember: balance is one of my core beliefs.)
If there’s one thing social media does well, it’s connection. And the biggest factor for my continued social media usage is the exposure to new ideas, education, differing opinions, and clever crafts. It’s information, entertainment, and travel at my fingertips for an extremely low monetary price. It’s the ability to check out online classes at Harvard Extension school, listen to TED talks, read new social theories, and yes, obsessively stalk my old camp friends on facebook.
The psychological and emotional price is, of course somewhat higher, even my schoolwork is affected a little bit, but I’m going to talk about some solutions to that more on Friday.
Psychologically, I’ve noticed with increased internet usage my thinking becomes hectic, fragmented, and completely unable to self-regulate. Everything seems to lead to one more thing. I didn’t really notice this until we went without the internet from February to March this year. That’s when I realized it’s important to consolidate my internet time. Limits are very very important when it comes to the internet-fascinated, like me.
Emotionally, many bloggers (women especially) have noted the general feeling of pressure to keep up with social expectations perpetuated on pinterest of the perfect house. Or of constantly presenting your best face on facebook.
My personal tendency is to become obsessed with duplicating an exact replica of my life on the internet. If I “like” something in real life, I NEED to “like” it on the internet. Obviously, this is not really necessary. And, as most people do, I do can fall into the trap of thinking that other people really do have it together and have a million friends if I only believe what I see on their facebook wall.
I love that many people are able to give up the internet (or at least the parts that are the most addicting to them). It’s a little worrisome to me when everyone falls lock step into a particular belief without questions whether this particular technology is good for them. (Cars, cell phones, TV’s, etc). One part of my continuing to use the internet will be the continuance of it being a “good” thing. Something morally beneficial, useful, and of course, fun.