In opening myself to others through electronic media such as Facebook I feel as though I have closed myself off to real life interaction. Although I do not spend an extraordinary amount of time in front of the computer and I do not engage in messaging and texting I have come to believe that even a little may be too much. Often throughout the day I find myself contemplating such deep questions as: Should I change my status update? Would this interest my "friends" on Facebook?
Instead of picking up the phone or writing a letter I rely on the computer to do my talking.
I watched a documentary recently that posited the theory that students today are so fragmented by multitasking and affected by the short sound bytes of information sent out over social media that they are learning LESS even at top notch academic institutions such as Harvard and MIT. I believe it. In the last five years I have lost my ability to focus on one book for any length of time. I have taken to reading easy fiction novels rather than books or articles of any substance. I tried to dismiss this as normal for a mother of young children - I certainly cannot read deep, intellectual material while caring for my children and I am generally quite tired at the end of my day and yet deep in my heart I know that without the years of scanning information online, refreshing my email and now checking status updates I would still have the focus needed to read and understand complex information.
What does all this mean? When taken to its logical conclusion I must conclude that the best course for myself and for my family is to unplug. And yet I do not want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Email is a valid and necessary means of communication in today's world. Facebook is where I find important information about family and friends and share information about our doings as well. Google and Wikipedia are essential tools in navigating real life. To log off completely would be like deciding not to participate in society at all. To be unplugged entirely is the new Amish. Therefore I must set limits. What they are I cannot tell just yet, but I will be giving it much thought in the days and nights to come. Until then, I would expect that you will hear from me less...and that perhaps is a good thing for all of us.
But as always, whether I have said it out loud or not, feel free to stop by. Maybe I have cookies in the oven....although looking at the 10 day forecast (online of course), probably not.