Friday, April 1, 2011


 "It’s an age-old problem, exacerbated by technology. To be always filled with craving and desire (also called defilement, affliction) is one of the Three Poisons of Buddhism, called kilesa, and it makes you a slave. There is true meaning in social media—real connections, real friendships, devotion, humor, sacrifice, joy, depth, love. And this is what we are looking for when we log on."

- Caterina Fake, co-founder of Flickr 

"Social Networking" via Sticky Comics
 This idea of kilesa, or desire, in relation to social media has been fluttering through my mind a lot these last couple of weeks. Caterina Fake's posting about "the fear of missing out" and a similar post about being "hopelessly addicted to the internet" on Bonzai Aphrodite sparked me to think about my own relationship to social networking and examine how much time I spend online.

Both posts mentioned above address two very different, but equally important concerns of how we approach the internet, one is the constant worry of missing out and the second is simply throwing our time away. With the first we see pictures on facebook and think that we really blew it by missing that party at so and so's or that everyone's lives are more interesting than ours based on their status updates. Social networkinging has this strange ability to be able to heighten or change an experience simply by documenting it. It forms a distorted view of our worlds. With this view, we are constantly searching for something more without being able to enjoy the beauty that is our lives. The second concern questions how much fruitless time we spend online and focusing that same energy on something more productive or creative. Do you really need to check twitter for the umteenth time or would taking a short walk around the block be better?

No finger pointing here as I am just as guilty as the next guy when it comes to over-interneting. With my family's work schedule I spend a decent portion of my day by myself. In many ways this "me time" has been great; I'm able to read, craft, listen to music, practice yoga, take long walks with the puppy, etc... on my own schedule, when and how I want. On the flip side, lots of "me time" can lead to lots of needless time online.  Don't get me wrong, I am a big fan of the internet! The wealth of information and even the function of social networking are simply awe-inspiring and have changed the world for the better. Clearly as a blogger I believe in the impact sharing our experiences online can be an empowering act. With that being said, nothing is being changed for the better when you're mindlessly surfing that time vampire known as the internet, falling down rabbit hole after rabbit hole of links and searches.

I am trying to do less of that.

I am also beginning to see how examining how you spend your time and what you fill your mind with (via the internet, books, music, television, etc...) directly links to your sense of wellbeing and ease. Less trash tv and wasteful internet time can only allow more time and mental room for information and activities that are actually beneficial to us.

So let's start making more room for the good!



Just a Little Nut-Meg said...

I LOVE this! I recently made bookmarks for the sites I like to check regularly so that I could escape the "internet stalking" as I like to call it - where one link, leads to another site, leads to another article. No I just click through the few "must reads" I have and I'm done. Also, the only TV in our house is in our basement and we DVR the shows we like to watch as a family and that is all we watch. No "background" noise TV in this house. Cady is allowed to watch one 20 minute show that I pick on Hulu sitting with me at my laptop before bed and that is it. I feel like she can garner so much more from getting dirty in the backyard than she can from watching a SHOW about kids getting dirty in the backyard! I am finding so much peacefulness from spending the quite time I have alone journaling, reading, exercising or crafting - in silence... no radio, no tv, nothing. Sometimes, silence is just nice :)

Just a Little Nut-Meg said...

excuse my typos - i'm sure you got what I meant :S

Tara said...

Bookmarks are a lifesaver! I also use them to save me from myself when it comes to aimless online navigating. We also use a dvr and I couldn't be happier with it! No "background" noise is indeed awesome. I totally agree with you that an actual experience is worth so much more than watching a depiction of an experience, especially for children. We will probably do something similar with our little one as you do with Cady in regards to the television. We're not really into most children's programming and plan on providing as much "real life" stimulus as possible. The peace you can get from simply removing a few external distractions is priceless!