DisConnected

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.

Last Weekend, looking for some place recommended by the GPS, me and my friend stumbled by this wine bar...and were DELIGHTED

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.

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5 thoughts on “DisConnected

  1. I was here. Not long enough to leave a decent reply but here none the less.

    It is funny because you mention taking a day off from the internets when I dream of a day where I can sit down and read all the blogs that are collecting dust in my inbox and catch up with my online friends.

  2. Okay, I read all of this. 🙂

    I’m by nature an introvert individual and like my alone time and quietness. However, I also need to feel connected, at least to some people, but it easily gets to much. Whenever I feel obligated, I’ll shy away. So, there’s a handful of really good friends I heart dearly and regularly talk to. And my wonderful mom. There’s also a handful blogs that I read regularly, and with those I usually comment on most posts and take a real interest in the person behind the blog. That’s enough, I couldn’t bear more. I rather concentrate on fewer people but get thinned out between too many social connections and in the end don’t do just to anybody, and also don’t get my own things done.

    My computer times are usually when I’m at home at my desk. I don’t have internet on my mobile, and I usually don’t take my mobile anyway. I like to have times when I’m not disturbed and not available. Coming home to a nice email later is much better than glooming at the mobile impatiently every few minutes. I also hate when people text me and expect I’d immediately text back. Grrr. The more you push me, the less I come. Ha. Everything can be explained by reactance theory. 😛

    Anyway, I definitely believe in connectedness. I also believe in wise selection. Having a real connection with few, precious people is a good thing. It’s a matter of balance, as always. 🙂

  3. I agree…the advancement of technology has been extremely helpful but also hurtful to social interaction in our society. It’s nice to connect electronically when physical space is not realistic (as in, you live in different cities, etc), but when possible, I always think in person contact is the best way to communicate. 🙂

  4. I feel so disconnected. All the time. There just isn’t enough time in a day to get all the things done that I want and I think that I sort of do things with my mind half in them.

    With that said, I will say that I read and loved this entire post. Your points resonated with me! And I want to take out a chunk of time to do … nothing. Just as you plan to.

    I wish us both loads of luck!

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