the law of internet overconsumption

It’s time for a bit of digital detox. Spring has already got me chomping at the bit to spend more time outside, exercise more, eat healthier, and yes, CLEAN ALL THE THINGS. But one area of my life has been pretty stagnant for a little too long now, and that’s my digital life.

On our way to the dump with some things we've been motivated to get rid of lately.

It’s been a slow time at the office, and I’ve found myself whiling away the time by checking Facebook and Twitter compulsively throughout the days. Although at first these digital pass times seem like a great way to, well, pass the time, after a while they make the days seem infinitely longer. After checking Twitter for the bazillionth time and seeing the same updates by the same people, the whole process becomes not only boring but embittering. I find myself thinking unkind things about people’s attempts at humor, proselytism and self-promotion. Internally, I become kindof a bitch.

A lot of people are noticing this trend … can we even call it a trend without appearing to be the type of people who also call ourselves “social media experts?” Yuck. Anyway, it’s not so much a trend as a revelation of the natural laws of the internet, like Newton’s laws: If you consume too much information on the internet, you will eventually feel a powerful revulsion toward the same. (I had to fight the urge to say, “If you spend all day on Facebook, you’re gonna have a bad time,” which is part of how I know I spend too much time on the internet.)

I’m not one of those Luddites who say arrogant things about “kids these days.” I am kids these days (for a little while longer at least). I enjoy being able to keep in touch with friends who live across the country or across the world. I like when my best friend from elementary school posts photos of her kid on Facebook. I like exchanging information and ideas with relative strangers on Twitter and occasionally becoming friends with some of them as we notice just how much we have in common.

When I'm not digitally gorging myself, going outside for no reason in particular is one of my favorite pass times.

What I don’t like is that feeling of emptiness when I hit refresh yet again. I don’t like that feeling I get when I realize no one is going to “like” my status update. And I don’t like going home at the end of the day thinking, “God, that was a boring day at work … I should’ve read a book written a blog post or knit a blanket or at least taken a lunch … but instead, I was on Facebook.”

So, while I don’t intend to quit social media, I definitely need to reel in my use of it. For the next week, I’m going to cut down to only checking Twitter and Facebook before and after work. That means that I’ll have to spend my time at the office actually working, or on slow days perhaps reading a book, writing, or planning a yoga class. I’ll let you know how it goes. I’d love to have your company in this, too. Maybe we could write each other good old fashioned emails!

Collective Dreaming: What C. G. Jung would've done if he had the internet.
thoughts while listening to a lecture on poetry

One thought on “the law of internet overconsumption

  1. Digital detox sounds like a great idea. I unintentionally went through it a little while ago when work cut off, well, most everything. I can still do Facebook and twitter, but something about not knowing what will trigger the “This website is blocked” page made me decide that I could wait. I do send myself links a lot more. 😉

    At the same time, I worry about how much time I spend catching up on things before/after work. The fact that I can check social media from the comfort of my bed means more lazing. I think the next step, for me, is to move my electronics out of the bedroom. Well, not the Kindle. 😉

    Good luck with your digital diet!

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