Tag Archives: internet addiction

Just a random stream of babble

3 Sep

I am on vacation, of course being short of cash my vacation involves sitting in my house though I may spend a few days in western Maine chilling with friends..So now that I am on vacation and still have a few days of childcare before girl child leaves daycare (by the way she is officially mad about this) it means I have time to let my mind wander which brings me to the point of today’s post.

Like many others I enjoy using Facebook, one might say I like it too much, shit I check Facebook from my Blackberry since I like to stay connected (I am working on pulling the plug) anyway I have noticed a disturbing trend, folks get really mad on Facebook. I may have mentioned it before (see I am getting old, can’t even remember what I wrote!) someone posts a seemingly innocent comment or link to a news story, well as you know it shows up in your friends feed, and humans being what they are, they respond. Are you still with me? Well some folks get mad because their “friends” post replies that bug them or their friends post updates that annoy them or even trouble them. I have recently seen shared “friends” engage in serious arguments/debates on Facebook, one woman I know has taken to proselytizing to another “friend” who is a devout pagan. Um…what the fuck is wrong with you people?

Look, the only reason I like Facebook as much as I do is it makes it easier to stay in touch with folks, I can upload pictures instead of sending a ton of emails or getting on the phone. Granted I do like getting on the phone but its not always easy, shit, I am mad that one of my two best friends is a Facebook holdout, he refuses to join, says its not his thing. People complain when their parents join and crimp their style…I wish my Papa would join, that way he could get regular pics of the family since he is such a Luddite that he doesn’t even own a computer and only uses one at work.

Anyway back to my rant or maybe its not a rant but an observation of someone who is starting to recognize that they are getting older, but life is too short to get pissed that a “friend” has political views that are not the same as mine. Unless this friend is a member of Steven Anderson’s church in Tempe, AZ which in that case there would be such a gulf I really might find it hard to stay calm but even then I believe in respecting folks and their differences. I got a few real life buddies who lately have taken to sending me right wing propaganda via email, I don’t get mad I hit delete. Occasionally I make a status update on Facebook that lets those folks know I got their emails but that I don’t agree and I leave it at that…but to start actual arguments over what we say on something like facebook is ridiculous.

It reminds me of the video I have seen a few times about how to not let facebook ruin your relationships, its the video with the predominantly Black cast and a woman yelling you been poking her all day and the guy whining about how his lady love doesn’t post on his wall.

Technology should enhance our lives and the moment it stops doing that is a point at which we should reevaluate our relationship…as for me, I am going to enjoy this last blast of summer here in Maine. So catch ya in a few days.

Unplugging for connection

15 Jun

A while back I wrote about my marriage and how I wasn’t feeling as connected to the Spousal Unit as I would like…sorry I am too tired to link to that post. Anyway since the time I wrote that post, things have gotten a tad better. No, the Spousal Unit did not suddenly grow a luxurious head of hair, his beard is still flecked with gray and he still has a bit of a pot belly though he is working on not snacking as much. I can’t even say our money woes have suddenly gone away.  Though the Spousal Unit has gotten some clarity around his mid life crisis as it relate to his career and is heading in the right direction.

So what did change? Well as of lately I have decided to unplug a bit from the internet. See, I spend a lot of time online, in part I am on my computer a lot because of work but truthfully over the past few months (really longer than that) I have started using the internet as an avoidance tool. Its much easier to read blogs and read about other folks seemingly perfect lives, granted I had a revelation today that the grass is not always greener on the other side. As a blogger, I tend to be a bit raw, or as one of my favorite professors in grad school used to say..get raggedy so you can see what’s really beneath the surface.  In many ways this space serves as my place to let it all out and over the months I have appreciated the feedback.

However last week, it hit me that I need to really limit my time online. So this weekend I did just that and guess what? The result was a level of connection that I have not had in a long time, so much so that I found myself wondering how many of us use the internet to avoid dealing with those less than perfect things in our lives?

I suspect I am not alone, maybe you don’t use the internet, maybe you stay busy…really doesn’t matter what it is but I am reminded that in our high tech world sometimes we need to turn it all off to get some perspective on our own lives. Today started like any other Monday in that I had a lot on my plate but for the first time in a long time, I saw the Spousal Unit in a positive light and it felt good.

So if I go MIA for a while it most likely means I have unplugged so that I can plug into those who are most important to me. If you don’t have relationship issues but are just feeling overwhelmed with the pace of life, I strongly advice unplugging, summer is here, get off the computer and enjoy some nature. Now I just need the sun to come out again so I can get back outside.

Pulling the plug

7 May

I have written before about my ongoing battle with spending too much time online. Due to the nature of my professional work, its hard to completely not be online since email is a far more efficient means of communicating and heaven forbid the week I stop checking email could be the week I miss an important message.

However as my daily routine has gone from checking in with a few discussion boards, checking email and reading the paper to checking my Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, blogs (as well as writing this one) and a few more online haunts I find myself going STOP! Seriously, I find myself wasting hours just being online and lately I am wondering what is the value to any of it.

Yeah, Facebook has put me in touch with old buddies from my previous life but at the same time I find myself thinking maybe they were in the past for a reason? I have well over a hundred “friends” on Facebook but aside from family members (only 3 I believe) how many of these folks are truly friends? There are probably about 20 or so that I communicate with outside of Facebook so that leaves as awful lot of folks that aren’t really friends but more like acquaintances if that. Once upon a time, it would have seemed strange to share photos of family and details about ones life with a mere acquaintance but now thanks to Facebook, we and that includes myself have started sharing all sorts of details about ourselves with folks we really don’t know. I don’t know about you but the more I think about that, it seems well…strange.

Why do we and again I include myself feel the need to share with folks the most mundane shit in our lives? Part of it I know is that I have a shortage of real life buddies in part because of my move here to Maine seven years ago. The other part is that many of my real life friends and I include myself have moved from a time where we talked on the phone to just talking online. I don’t know but it bugs me and I am thinking its time for a change.

I was recently looking at my friends list and thinking how many of these folks could I call if I were in a jam? Um…..I really don’t know. The fact that I can’t really answer that question has made me think that maybe I have reached a time where its time to seriously think about downsizing my online life.

Its no wonder that folks speak of Facebook as having addictive qualities, after all its so easy to get sucked into thinking you are having real relationships with your “friends” but are you? The answer is in many cases no, you are exchanging information but these “friends” are not friends in most instances.

I am reminded of the year of my mother’s illness and later death, this was 5 years ago before we became Facebook, Twittering fools. I was involved in a few discussion boards but at the end of the day, when I was breaking down and losing it, it was my real life friends I called. Now I only had two folks I really leaned on aside from the Spousal Unit during that time and both friends were back in the Midwest but I could call them at midnight as I did one night and talk, cry and scream on the phone for three hours and you know what? They were there for me. My oldest friend I have known since the 4th grade and when my Mom died, she made the 6 hour drive from her house in Minnesota with a newborn to be at my Mom’s memorial service.

I remember thinking she wouldn’t make it, yet I turned around in the church and saw her coming in with her Mom, husband and newborn baby girl. Let me tell you her presence got me through what was truly the worse day of my life. Later the next day she stayed on to come and take me out for breakfast before hitting the road, she left her breastfed baby for 3 hours to hang with me, to sit in a coffee shop while I chain smoked and lost it.

Can I say that now that I have been a breastfeeding Mama, that what she did for me in the name of friendship was huge…that woman is my sister just as if we had been born of the same mama. When I think of this, while it was a shitty time in my life I am reminded of what friendship is all about.

Casual comments and virtual hugs while sweet don’t make a relationship and to think so speaks of how fractured we have become as a society.

In light of thinking on this issue, I have decided the time has come to start pulling some plugs. I like blogging, I like being able to just write without thinking deeply about it. It can be cathartic, so blogging stays. However many of the discussion boards, gotta go…how many times can one discuss parenting? Facebook is nice but I think daily status updates are well, just not needed, same for Twitter.

The plan is to get my online time down to one hour a day, I don’t even want to tell you how much time I spend online at the moment. I will just say that I could read more books if I got off the fucking computer. I also want to enjoy more time outside alone or with the family and right now that is not happening, so time to pull some plugs.

That said, should you swing by here and see that my posting is a little more sporadic, it just means I am out enjoying the world.

Electronic front porch or something else….

20 Mar

I will admit I am an internet junkie, I spend way too much time online. It started almost 10 years ago when I was contemplating going natural (translation, no more chemical relaxers in my hair), at that time I knew no one in my day to day life who was natural and needed some support. Since the first time I tried to dread my hair at 18, it was a failure since I didn’t know at that time that dreads on relaxed hair don’t work. (I basically was just washing and going with no combing…it was a hot mess)

So almost 10 years ago I came across an online community of women of African descent who were either natural or also contemplating the move. It was a great little community and allowed me to also connect with women who lived in Chicago as well so I could get some live examples. At that point in time, my internet usage was still pretty tame since I was in Chicago and not relying on the net to fill any voids in my life.

Then 7 years ago we moved to Maine and a sista was lonely with a capital L, starting all over 1100 miles from family and friends is no joke, despite daily calls back home, the only person I talked to daily face to face was the spousal unit…it was a rough time.

A year after the move was when my Mom got diagnosed with cancer and thus started the journey that ended with her death 8 months after being diagnosed. By then the sistas from my online discussion group really did become my support, after her death the women from our board organized and sent a gift to help my family out since they knew that my Dad was out of work and I had been helping my folks out.

It was after my Mom’s death that I truly knew the women in my group were not just online folks but many are indeed friends, I know that I can travel to anyplace and if there is a sista from our group, I won’t be alone. In fact early in my time here in Maine, a sista came through and we got together.

That said as my time in Maine goes on, I reached a point where clearly I needed to find some real life buddies and in 7 years I will say that I have built a decent support group, though sadly one of my dearest friends is getting ready to relocate to southern New England. She is one of my few Black girl friends here and to say I am dreading the day she leaves is an understatement.

Now I shared all this to say that I clearly see real value in using the internet as a sociliazing tool, even Facebook has allowed me to reconnect with old friends, so despite the many changes even Facebook serves a purpose.

However I must admit that as of late it bothers me how may folks use the internet to connect with versus face to face interactions, actually a dear real life friend admitted she sees Facebook as an electronic front porch of sorts…I don’t know but I don’t quite see it the same way.

I fear that as we gravitate to using text messages and mediums such as Twitter and Facebook, that it has the ability to take away from the human experience of connecting. Lately I have noticed that on Friday and Saturday nights I find myself online chatting with folks who are only 10-15 miles away from me and that just seems strange. No one can find the time to get together for a coffee or drink but we are all sitting in our respective homes on our computers chatting and while there is nothing wrong with that, I remember as a child that on weekends my folks had friends over or we went to visit others.

I sense we are losing a piece of our humanity by reducing ourselves down to digestable soundbytes to the point that even I have noticed my attention span is not what it used to be and that scares me.

While I realize I would never want to go back to life without this amazing technology, lets also not forget the value in really reaching out and connecting to one another.

Have a happy weekend and welcome Spring!

Internet addiction has its upside

16 Jan

Months ago I wrote about my growing addiction to being online, its a tough monkey to kick since my work keeps me online to some degree when I am actively doing research. Also since I still spend part of my week working from home, being online at times serves the same purpose as the office water cooler. That said, I still spend too much time online and have promised the spousal unit that I will lessen my time.

Anyway, looks like Facebook actually served a useful purpose other than killing time. I reconnected this week with several old childhood friends, one being my oldest and best-est buddy. A woman who knows me better than almost anyone else aside from the spousal unit, only thing is our life goes in weird ebbs and flows where sometimes we are thick as thieves and other times we lose contact yet we always reconnect. Last time I saw my girl was almost 5 years ago when  Mama Blackgirl passed away and my girl was there to hold me up.

So its been interesting connecting with folks I knew when I was a young-in and seeing where we are in life, seems the old crew from Chicago is all married with kids which at our ages makes sense.

Anyway happy Friday, as for me I am trying to stay warm since it was a balmy 15 below when I woke up this morning and apparently my furnace despite being only 3.5 years old is working rather hard to warm this house up. Yeah, right now the father in law’s offer to move near him in Arizona almost sounds good until I remember its hot as hell there in the summer and that I hate heat. See Monday!

We be junkies… battling the net addiction

26 Jul

Yesterday a very bad thing happened around my house, the internet died. If you could have seen the looks on both me and the spousal unit’s face, you would have thought a family member had actually died. Yes, it was that bad. We tinkered with it, plugged and unplugged the modem, only to have to call the lovely folks at Time Warner who supply our internet connection. Since we both work at home, the internet is pretty important to our respective gigs since its the means by which we connect with our clients.

Well after what seemed like hours on the phone with the lovely tech folks, we got the very bad news that they would have to send someone out, however they were booked and couldn’t come out till the next day. Noooooooooooooooo. You mean 24 hours without going online? But, we have professional class service I thought that meant you come right away to fix my service? This is what we told the gal on the phone who explained that they were getting to us right away, that if we had a Joe Regular Residential account we could be waiting a week for repairs. Oh.. That cooled us down.

Truthfully my work day was just about wrapped up, but I still had blogs to read, boards to go to and information to seek. Instead I took my elder child out and had a great day. It was during our outing that I realized I am addicted to the net. See, upon waking in the morning, I drink my coffee while reading the paper online and surfing my favorite blogs. From there I check the various discussion boards I moderate as well as ones I surf. Even aside from my work, I spend a lot of time online. In the evening, I am often online between playing with mini-me, I am famous for saying just one more moment baby.

While out yesterday I was listening to Red Hot Chili Pepper’s Throw Away your Television, and was struck by the fact that I could say the same thing about my computer.. over the years I have grown more dependent on this piece of machinery. Even blogging has helped to fuel the addiction, I thought I would maybe at best write a post 2-3 times a week instead I try for almost every day. Know what? Its too much..

Yet its a strange love-hate relationship, truth is technology allows me to live in a rural state and earn a living and have clients anywhere, yet I find that the line between personal and professional life is harder to find.

That said, I am not giving up the net, but while the weather is good I think I need to engage more with the outside world instead of online.. so I think much like I confine work to certain days, I suspect for the good of the fam, I should blog only during the week, in fact I am trying to limit my online time period. This is gonna be a lot like my 2 year journey with Weight Watchers, took 2 years to lose almost 50 pounds because I had to re-change my relationship with food.

So am I the only one who spends way too much time online? Catch ya on Monday.