||[Oct. 1st, 2012 | 09:18 am]
So the Experimonth is over. How was it? Overwhelming is the best way to put it. Never did I think the grip of social media and current news would be so great on my psyche. I have given up other vices before (fast food, soda, alcohol, caffine) and none have been as hard (fyi, caffine was by far the hardest before this).|
Actually it was so hard that I'm not sure I'm done with the experiment yet. And while I tried not to, I did cheat a couple times. The pull to want to know how *others* react is pretty great it turns out. Now I know why so many companies want to get into the social realm. As far as addictions go, it's right up there (and socialy accepted).
However, lets start out with what I did not miss. I didn't miss Twitter or Facebook or Google Plus. Many of these quick "what are you doing now?" sites really didn't stick with me. After a few days I didn't miss them or think about them at all.
So what did I miss? Blogs, News sites, and especially forums. Not "forums" like Reddit, as I didn't really miss Reddit, but forums like the drummers forum I frequent or the Packer one or the emulation one. The communities I'm a part of that are niche where other posters "know" me. And while I missed them, I know I'm better off not being on them very often.
The forums that is. It's easy to spend way too much time having "conversations" with people you don't actually know about things that don't really matter. Blogs and news sites are a different story. They are more for consumption, tend to be longer in length and are something that I miss but also don't feel like is a massive waste of time. That's probably because their output is a trickle here and there instead of the flood of other social media.
Before I went on hiatus I had subscribed to a bunch of art and design blogs. Looking at them just now they are filled with so much awesome stuff, that I really feel now like I missed something this month being away. Looking at the normal forums I used to visit...well it's pretty much the same old thing. I don't get the feeling that I missed a lot or that anything major happened in the last month.
Looking at Twitter, FB, G+, et al I sort of feel like I did when I had my first fast food after about 3 months off of it. "What is this shit?!" I don't mean that to disparage anyone, but it really feels like empty calories now. It's weirdly unrecognizable.
So, how have I changed and what am I going to change? I've realized current events are important. Real news of the day is a good thing. I've realized well written blogs/articles about niche things I care about are also important. They keep me up to date on what matters but don't beat me over the head with it 10 times a day.
I've realized day to day posts or memes or random quips while fine on their own, in aggregate are a waste of time. I can think of only a few posts on Twitter, FB, G+, etc from the past year that really wowed me (or that I can remember). I can think of dozens of great blog posts, podcasts, and news articles. Not that everything needs to be of value, but there's a slippery slope here.
So yes I will be watching more football, playing more video games, and reading my RSS feeds. But no, I won't be on the social media websites or forums as regularly as I used to be, if at all. If I've learned one this this month (and it's something I want to continue into October), it's to *slow the fuck down*.
In an interconnected and instant society this turns out to be amazingly hard, espeically if your brain is wired to take everything in. There were several times this month, with a lack of things to do, that I felt like a kid again. Instead of feeling bored, I felt like I could do anything I wanted. That was not something I expected, but it came from a lack of distractions. And I did do a lot because of it. I was more productive in September than I have been in a long time.
This idea, "lack of distractions" is where I want to focus my time and energy moving forward, not just online, but elsewhere as well.