Social media. The very words exhaust me.
I know we are supposed to be connecting and re-connecting with people via Facebook or Pinterest or Instagram or Twitter. I’m sure there are more sites that I’m missing, which is sort of my point. I can’t keep up with them. Moreover, I don’t particularly want to.
I see them, in my moments of clarity, as huge time-sucks. And I have enough of those time-sucks in my life already. First of all, I write this blog seven days a week. Every post is an original post with my thoughts and photos. No guest posts. No using photos from other sources and linking to content elsewhere, unless it’s a quick link to something I think you might enjoy reading. For better or worse, it’s all mine. I answer comments. I do my best to visit other blogs when I get a chunk of free time. I check in on Facebook at least once a day. Facebook, by the way, is the one thing I will take some time for. It’s my way of keeping up with with former students and hearing about their lives, and that means a great deal to me. I spend much, much, much less time on the Facebook page for this blog. Sometimes I forget to check in there for several days. Since I post daily, I often feel I’m just duplicating things on MHC’s Facebook page. I started that page because it seemed to be the thing to do, but I’m far from committed to it. I try.
I force myself to go on Pinterest once every 3 or 4 weeks. I have no desire to spend hours pinning photos. I don’t care about being a “Power Pinner. ” Again: exhausting. I see its appeal. I do. But I have other things I’d rather be doing, like reading a book, taking a walk, working outside, working inside, talking to my husband or my sister or playing with my dog.
Instagram? I think I’ve done it 2 or 3 times. And that was well over a year, maybe even two years, ago. Twitter? Every once in a while. But I have to reminded to check in there. It’s not on my wave length. I did tweet John Boehner the other day to tell him to do his job and end this ridiculous shutdown. That’s as political as I’m going to get on this blog. At least for the moment.
Bloggers, especially, are told to use social media extensively. We should be tweeting our posts. We should be talking about our posts on Facebook. We should use Google+. We should do all this stuff to increase our page rankings. We should, we should, we should. I’m not sure who made up these rules, but, as you know, I’m not a big fan of rules. Yes, I do a bit of that. But only a bit.
I’ve already made peace with the fact that this blog is not a niche blog. As I’ve said on numerous occasions, if I had a niche blog I would go nuts, and not in a good way. Limiting myself to one subject matter would drive me right up the wall. Since this blog is about my life, it can’t be narrowed down to just one thing. Thank goodness. All that is to say that for niche bloggers, maybe all that social media stuff is a good thing. But for me? No. As it is, the first part of my day is about writing a post, checking in on comments, reading the news headlines from the New York Times, checking in on Facebook and reading my email. That takes a big chunk of time.
After that? I have other things to do. I already feel that I spend too much time in front of my laptop screen. The Internet is a temptress, don’t you think? I could easily spend hours here in this chair, going from link to link, site to site. Indeed, I’ve done that more that a few times. All of these ‘rules’ for blogging and/or living on the Internet only serve to suck up more of my time. So now every picture I take has to be Pinterest worthy? Every post I write has to be touted on other sites? I have to spend time tweeting things about this blog? I have to join Google+ because Google tells me I should? I have to be part of a ‘circle’ that involves even more work?
I don’t think so. I have nothing against any of these things. I’m absolutely sure they are used and loved by many; I just have to make choices that feel right for me.
I have to find some sort of balance in my online life. I need to make sure I don’t lose hours of my life staring at a computer screen. I will not let my life take place within the virtual world. I’m so aware these days of time slipping by; of years that seem to go by in an instant, of days that can be lost to the computer. Time seems to move more quickly as you get older. Days and weeks and years are more precious. I’d rather hear the sounds of the birds in our trees, watch a butterfly flit from flower to flower, read a good book, work on my real home – this cottage, and do what I love, whether it be my coaching work, crocheting a scarf, hand quilting a quilt or writing a post a day for this blog that I love so much.
So, while I’m very grateful for the Internet and all the information and entertainment it offers, not the least of which is the opportunity to write this blog, I’m constantly aware that its siren call needs to be kept in check. I need to be holding the reins. I need to do all of this my way. Not the way others tell me I should do it.
What are your thoughts on all of this, my friends? How do you spend your time on the Internet?