Ever notice how socially connected we are anymore? Where we use to take time to write letters to friends, we now “inbox” them on Facebook or direct message them on Twitter. When we need faster responses, we send texts using our mobile devices. If you work in an office, take an informal survey and see how many of your coworkers keep some form of instant messenger client up on their PCs. (You might want to reassure them that you aren’t going to report your findings to the boss.)
I don’t know about you, but every time I turn around, I am being dinged, pinged, or I am vibrating like an adult toy. As soon as I turn one much computer, my IM client shows me all of my missed messages. My Twitter and Facebook updates go straight to my phone. I can’t remember ever being this much in the know. I can’t remember ever wanted to know as much as I know about different subjects and different people. From a writing aspect it is a mixed bag of blessings.
Face it, if you are a writer, you’re probably a nosey person anyway. How else do we find out about the interesting things around us? In that regard, social networking is an awesome tool to be as nosey as you want. Hell, you don’t even have to try, because for some reason, people will say the strangest things on a social network site that they would never say in person. So it’s hard to turn away all of the good quotes, comments and even the informative stuff.
And that’s [part] of the problem. And as our gluttonous nature would dictate, the more stimulus we receive, the more we want. It’s an intoxicating drug that, like the real stuff you can get on the streets, can get you hooked. Could you imagine someone trying to sell you a television is exchange for 20 minutes of Twitter time? I know there is one person, who just said they would take someone up on that deal. You should be ashamed of yourself. (Though if they threw in an Xbox 360, they could have an entire hour and even play Farmville on Facebook.)
I knew I was online a lot; but until I took stock of how much time I spent connected to the grid, I didn’t get the clear picture I now had. What do I plan to do with my newfound knowledge? Simple. Begin taking back my time. I can’t lie, giving it all up cold turkey would cause my head to explode. Instead of risking the cranial catastrophe, I’m going to unplug slowly. The first step was killing my casual Facebook profile. I am going to devote two days out of the week being unplugged from the internet. Ultimately, I want to spend three days offline. I hope the social disconnect will allow me to better connect with my writing.
Either way, I’ll Tweet regularly about my progress.