Mulling over the whole online experience…

7 01 2009

Weather: High: 31 degrees and snow showers later.

So I was working yesterday, as I do 5 days a week, but found that my Firefox was getting more attention than my beyond late year end reports. So much for my resolution of trying to minimize my online time at work. I can’t afford to get fired. And benevolent deities know I should have learned from someone else’s mistakes.

Needless to say, that little nagging worry has made me really look closely at how much time I’m spending on the social networking sites (too much) and surfing blindly (also too much) and researching websites for writing and moving information. (Not nearly enough.)

Facebook has turned into the crack chatroom and I’m constantly refreshing the page. CONSTANTLY.
LiveJournal I’m visiting less and less. I am trying to keep up with my friends, but I’m skimming past 90% of the community posts. I more than likely will go strip off a lot of them. Most of them are posting repetitive squee and pictures and little in the way of news.

I’m finding myself much more interested in following the bands I like, mostly by going to their own websites or their best fan sites.  I have a couple LJ communities that I read every entry on, and they tend to be writing related. I’m also only posting here for the most part. At least anything of substance is here.

Mindless refreshing of social sites is like the mindless clicking of the tv remote. It fills time and doesn’t really require you to do anything more than sit back and pretend to be interested. I really could just keep my closest friends on a filter and check both Facebook and LJ twice a day and not miss anything.

I guess what’s been running through my head a lot lately is…what did I do with my time before LiveJournal and Facebook?

I found one of my old Favorites lists from back before I signed on to these two time sinks and guess what? 90% of my links were for bands and fandom websites. The rest were all writing or web design pages. I spent more time using e-mail to keep in contact with people.  I also remember vaguely spending hours…SHOCK!… writing. Granted it was poorly constructed fanfic, but I was WRITING.

Blogging like this is an outlet for me. And I almost prefer the format here to anywhere else. I know I get a lot less feedback, which I’m oddly okay with, but I also feel more free to say what I want. Maybe because I’m not self-editing for an audience. Which is what I do over at LJ. People will rush up and say, “It’s your journal and you can say what you want” but the truth is, that doesn’t stop any snark or arguments against what you say.
“My Opinion” seems to open the door for everyone wanting to share theirs and counter yours, when honestly I only wanted to mull over something, not start a conversation. Call me selfish if you will, but not everything I spew on my blog requires a dialogue. Or grammar police. Or insightful rumination that is merely re-digesting my points.

Granted, there are times I DO want feedback. Then I post at LJ. Or put a Note up on Facebook. Maybe it’s the minuscule tendril of narcissism in us  all that makes us post lengthy diatribes with an open question at the end? Or maybe it’s just simple need for contact. I’m sure it’s a mixture of that and a need to share something that touches us or makes us laugh. Nothing wrong with any of those things.

A lot of my friends live sufficiently far away that I would never have met them, let alone conversed with them except via the net. But where I’m confuzzled (and I’m sure I’m probably the only one) as to when e-mail became insufficient to have those conversations. I like e-mail. It feels more like a one on one conversation, rather than a forum on something. Sometimes I respond to something that has been posted, with the sole intent of replying back to the poster alone. Then comes the peanut gallery. Sometimes it leads to a humorous conversation between me and another commentator. But sometimes it ends up with a series of backpedals because someone misinterpreted what you said or didn’t like the tone of your comment. Mind you, the original poster understood and is okay with your response…in THEIR JOURNAL.  But someone who wasn’t involved in that conversation has stuck their two cents in and it turns into a whole “This is what I said, this is what you heard” debacle.

Anyway. This is getting ridiculously long. I guess what has got me chewing over my participation online is that I’ve recently seen some particularly mean behavior and am rethinking a lot of people who I’d considered friends. I’ve been posting inane one line status updates that are turning into the same drivel I used to criticize other people for writing.

I’d like to trim my online time back to just posting blogs here and interacting on a simple level over on LJ and Facebook. MySpace is merely there to keep track of some of my bands. Most people on MySpace have migrated over to Facebook anyway. And Facebook has allowed me to reconnect with family members I rarely get to see. So major ups there.

I suppose that maybe I realized that at 42 years old (Well in 5 days anyway) maybe I’m just getting too easily annoyed by people’s behavior and how much time I’m wasting staring at a computer screen. (Granted I’m staring at a computer screen when I write, but at least there I’m 100% engaged in the activity. )

A lot of the real world stuff is starting to pass me by because of this. The world won’t end if I stop posting for a week. Or if I fail to comment on EVERYONE’s posts. Or don’t respond to a request on Facebook.  I’m not interested in WOW or Second Life. Most RPGs require too much  of my free time and I’d rather spend what little of it I have either writing or interacting with my husband.  (Interpret that last one as you will.)

Maybe what the ultimate question nagging me is this:
“Am I going to regret the time wasted, when my time runs out?”

Right now, sadly, the answer is leaning towards yes.

Daily Vid:
Have something simple and poppy today. This song has been stuck in my head for the past few days. Not the biggest fan of all this band’s material, but this song is like the best earworm. LOVE the chorus and William Beckett, the lead singer, is freaking adorable. (And they’re from CHICAGO!)

The Academy Is — About a Girl
Vodpod videos no longer available.

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