You’ll read one quarter of this.
Maybe you don’t have time. Maybe you have 50 other comments to make today, or have only 7 minutes before your show comes on, or the baby wakes from a nap. Maybe you feel strung out, wired a bit from all the blue screens that keep your attention glued and yet so frazzled at the same time. Maybe this is just one more stop in your search for a jolt of virtual world caffeine.
But don’t you feel burnt out? Just a tad?
I crave connection and feedback to validate. I hate silence and gaps in connection because they go against my productive values and the assertion that “connection is good.” I send packages home weekly. I write letters, posts, sometimes Facebook status remarks, send pictures, share links, call back home. Give me a gold star for connection.
A fundamental urge to connect emanates from each of us. And in a current culture of hyperconnectedness, how MUCH we connect, how many hits, how many comments, how many plug ins or mentions or tags we accumulate, often bolsters our self esteem. We “feel better” about ourselves when others notice us, sure, but notice us publically and more gratification ensues.
I’ve fallen victim at numerous points in the past three years of posting on this site of feeling good enough or less than based on comments or readership. I wonder if my words matter if no one recognizes them.
And then I picked up Hamlet’s Blackberry and listened to its entreaty: what are the costs of super connectedness? Is there an inherent assumption that connection is always better? The book takes several key philosophers and demonstrates a serious of historical shifts in our culture with numerous introductions of “technology.” Research indicates several pitfalls of being connected.
For example, research points out that teens whom use more technology (such as video games or the Internet) miss more school and tend to have more stomach aches, sleeping problems, anxiety and depression. He pointed out research indicated that subjects who log onto Facebook all the time may foster a “it’s all about me” personality.
In addition, we are becoming less attentive and productive. Students of all ages during a 15-minute intervals and found that most were only able to focus for two to three minutes before turning their attention to something unrelated to their studies (most often a text message or mobile phone application). Students who checked their Facebook while studying performed worse than students who did not.
Not only that, hyperconnectedness is bad for business…(email is often UNPRODUCTIVE!) But I am more concerned about what being TOO connected electronically can do to our relationships. Did you see that new commercial about the boyfriend checking his blackberry for the game plays during a date? VERY accurate (but the one about the man at the altar updating his facebook status….SAD)
I have been engaged a lot this month in public speaking, and recently, during a speech on motivational interviewing, I asked “what do you want?” and for 2012, I have felt a constant state of overstimulation, so much so, I could barely sense my answer “PEACE.” I think connection, at times, impedes our ability to know what I, me, myself, WANTS. I am too easily swayed. I don’t watch TV (a few DVD episodes here and there) and only read magazines like Psychology Today. BUt when I do pick up a Runner’s World, or an Oprah, or read the Healthy Everythingarian (love her!) or browse ETSY, I see LOADS of things that I want….or at least initially think I want that may or may not be, well, all that truthful.
Not to say that they are essentially BAD for me. They aren’t. Some of them are SALVATION.
But the over use of them, the compulsion to cart Mac up to bed, or to research where a great restaraunt is, or to listen to Wait Wait Don’t tell me EVERY time I bake….well it drowns something out.
That intuition, of perhaps following your heart, and eyes and cold body into a perfectly lovely little wine bar. One that wasn’t electronically identified, but sensed
And stumbling upon a place with such charisma, it doesn’t exist in bits and pieces, but in social transactions, fueled by lovingly arranged antipasto and a surprise, and heart healing, serenade.
So I think I am going to take a BIG step forward to start to carve out ONE chunk of time a week of NO INTERNET (which equals TV, in my situation). I must create a little Walden Pond of my own to allow my own thoughts and sensations to flutter up and be present. Even as I write this, the urge to check my email is STRONG, and I find my ability to persist, in SINGULAR present minded ness is dulled by the stimulus of this beloved blue screen of mine.
So don’t worry if you don’t read all (or skim) most of this. You’ll get no judgment from me. I am as disconnected as the rest of us.