Sunday, February 15, 2009

Isn't Progress Wonderful?

I'm currently reading a novel in which one of the characters says civilization has been declining since the invention of smoke signals. His theory is that, until that time, all communication was face-to-face. As we distance ourselves from others, communication has become more impersonal. I'd have to add my own observation: we're no longer communicating, we're emitting signals but no one has time to read them.

I follow a number of blogs, almost all of them writing-related. I use Google Reader to notify me when something new is posted on these sites. I open the Reader once or twice a day, read through the titles and first few lines, and decide whether to invest the time in reading them. And I'm careful not to spend all my time doing this--because it's possible to let blog-reading and commenting take over your day.

I asked a number of people how many blogs they read. The results were interesting. A number of responses included the comment, "I don't have time to read blogs." The busier the person, the less time they spend on blogs and social networking. Makes sense, I guess. You can't be reading and writing at the same time. And I don't know how many times I've heard from friends who say, "I've got to shut this down and get some work done."

I also use Twitter. As I've posted before, I've already stopped following some folks on Twitter because their frequent tweets have just worn me down. Now I use it to follow a small group of friends with whom I enjoy the closer contact this medium allows. As for FaceBook, I have only a nominal presence there. My tweets go to my FaceBook page and I get emails when someone posts on my wall (and for those of you who don't do FaceBook, it's sort of like your first trip to Starbucks--you have to learn the language). Again, all this can take over your life if you let it. I'm trying very hard to avoid that.

Is there a point to all this? Well, to begin with, if you're reading this blog I appreciate your taking the time to do it. Other than that, I'd like to ask how you self-limit your involvement in blogs and Twitter and FaceBook and all that stuff. Any suggestions?

I'll be away from the keyboard for a few days. Talk among yourselves, and the last person out of the chat room be sure to turn off the lights.

5 comments:

Nixy Valentine said...

To keep Twitter from getting overwhelming, use Tweetdeck. It will help you filter tweets and you can put "real" friends into a group that you watch separately. It really helps!

I've found Twitter and Facebook have been very very valuable in both promoting my blog and getting to know people in the industry.

Richard Mabry said...

Nixy,
Thanks for pointing out the usefulness of one of the utilities to be used with Twitter. I should have mentioned them. I've used both Tweetdeck and Twhirl. They both worked well, although there were times I wondered if they weren't slowing my computer a bit. I'm currently back to Twhirl and it does help.

Katherine Mary said...

Hi Saying we are emmitting signals, we sound like some thing from out of space.. :) Not to many years ago, if this was being talked about, your certainly would have thought that, right? :)
I only read several blogs, yours, B.J. Hoff, and Jim Callies, and a couple of other authors. And, our pastors, of course.
Will read others, if I find them interesting.
Interesting life we are living.
TTYL... blessings.. Katherine Mary

ArcticWolfJD said...

So much good stuff! Too much, perhaps.

I began using Facebook as a forum for distributing my work (artwork, videos, writing, etc.), but yes, it is so easy to spend half a lifetime there. The only way I can limit myself is to continually remind myself of what is more important to me than this. If nothing, perhaps Facebook and blogspot are the places to be!

I try to draw a line, such as only so much time, or I'll see what my closer friends are up do, but not let myself get caught up in the silly little activities such as "which Disney character are you?" and "finish these sentences with the first word that comes to your mind." It's different for every person, but take your pick and draw the line where you will.

It's ironic: I'm not a blog frequenter, I just happened upon this one and it sounded interesting so I read it. And then I had an answer to give, so I gave it!

Richard Mabry said...

Nixy,
Thanks for pointing out the usefulness of one of the utilities to be used with Twitter. I should have mentioned them. I've used both Tweetdeck and Twhirl. They both worked well, although there were times I wondered if they weren't slowing my computer a bit. I'm currently back to Twhirl and it does help.