Monday, May 17, 2010

3002...

This is my 3002nd post since John's World/Incoming shifted to Blogger (4/6/2006). That's right at 2 posts per day for those 4+ years.

To say I have enjoyed it is self-evident.  I must have done, because since it doesn't doesn't generate income (not even Google ads), this activity is clearly a hobby.  But more and more it seems to me it is a problem.  Aside from the time absorbed, there is the rising concern too much screen-time is changing who we are, or can be an addiction.
The problem with the addiction metaphor, which as these quotes show is easy to indulge in, is that it presents the normal as abnormal and hence makes it easy for us to distance ourselves from our own behavior and its consequences. By dismissing talk of "Internet addiction" as rhetorical overkill, which it is, we also avoid undertaking an honest examination of how deeply our media devices have been woven into our lives and how they are shaping those lives in far-reaching ways, for better and for worse. In the course of just a decade, we have become profoundly dependent on a new and increasingly pervasive technology.
There's nothing unusual about this. We routinely become dependent on popular, useful technologies. If people were required to live without their cars or their indoor plumbing for a day, many of them would probably resort to the language of addiction to describe their predicament. I know that, after a few hours, I'd be seriously jonesing for that toilet. What's important is to be able to see what's happening as we adapt to a new technology - and the problem with the addiction metaphor is that it makes it too easy to avert our eyes.
The addiction metaphor also distorts the nature of technological change by suggesting that our use of a technology stems from a purely personal choice - like the choice to smoke or to drink. An inability to control that choice becomes, in this view, simply a personal failing. But while it's true that, in the end, we're all responsible for how we spend our time, it's an oversimplification to argue that we're free "to choose" whether and how we use computers and cell phones, as if social norms, job expectations, familial responsibilities, and other external pressures had nothing to do with it. The deeper a technology is woven into the patterns of everyday life, the less choice we have about whether and how we use that technology.
When it comes to the digital networks that now surround us, the fact is that most us can't just GTFO, even if we wanted to. The sooner we move beyond the addiction metaphor, the sooner we'll be able to see, with some clarity and honesty, the extent and implications of our dependency on our networked computing and media devices. What happens to the human self as it comes to experience more and more of the world, and of life, through the mediation of the screen? [More]
To be fair, I can point to some benefits that spill over into my writing and speaking. Posting is essentially my research effort to surface material to present, assemble facts to support my assertions, and exposure to ideas I likely would not have encountered otherwise.

But blogging has crowded out other good things in my life, and isolated me from activities that could reduce stress and boost satisfaction, I now suspect. Oddly, over the last few months I have watched several bloggers "burn out" - so I am wondering if this 4-5 year mark is some kind of threshold.

So I am trying to take a slightly more objective view of this peculiar activity, and how I can make it better fit into my life, and still provide something others find useful.  Nothing may change, but much could.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

john, i've been reading incoming for about a year, i've enjoyed it, i try to follow most of the links and read the articles, honestly some of them are way over my head, but most have opened my eyes to another point of view which i might not otherwise have seen. i respect the honest way in which you are able to discuss farm program payments and farmer issues, discussing both sides of an isssue. ok, thanks ac

Anonymous said...

You do all of this yourself! Quite frankly I figured you had help in doing the research and coming up with links on any given blog and topic. I tip my hat to you.

Anonymous said...

John , see now we have the same addiction too your blogs and wonder what interesting piece of knowledge that you are going too bring us everyday...just wet enough here not too be able too spray or plant....on the RBC banking front my third "personal relationship manager" in 2 yrs. is taking "parental leave" ,,now this is getting a little tiring...in Ontario either spouse is allowed up too a year off work every time they have a child with varying levels of compensation depending on the company...hope the decision you make on blogging is the one best for you and your family-regards-kevin

Jay said...

I lost internet on Thursday 1t 8 a.m. Tech had to come out and replace some equipment and had it fixed around 2 p.m. on Friday. For those 30 hours, I wondered how I went about half of my life without a high-speed internet connection.

Anonymous said...

John, Anonymous #1 said it well,"opened my eyes to another point of view-discussing both sides of an issue" .
I don't know how many blog followers you have but I still think you should consider using it as a profit center. Perhaps you could back off on other work and get some hired help with the blog. If you quit, I'll be like the kid in the James Dean movie where he plays Shane... John, John, don't go John!

John Phipps said...

Thanks all for your support. To show the extent of my umm...problem I am commenting by phone from our hotel. I really was not fishing for encourage mentioned but it is appreciated.

Jan and I think getting out to the shop and firing up some power tools will restore some balance.

John Phipps said...

Thanks all for your support. To show the extent of my umm...problem I am commenting by phone from our hotel. I really was not fishing for encourage mentioned but it is appreciated.

Jan and I think getting out to the shop and firing up some power tools will restore some balance.

John Phipps said...

Thanks all for your support. To show the extent of my umm...problem I am commenting by phone from our hotel. I really was not fishing for encourage mentioned but it is appreciated.

Jan and I think getting out to the shop and firing up some power tools will restore some balance.