So very tired

I am expe­ri­enc­ing an acute onset of social net­work fatigue these days. No dis­cernible sin­gle cause, no dis­tinct bad expe­ri­ence that stands out as spoil­ing things for me. No, I am just tired of so many places to put things, and so many places to check for things put by oth­ers. I am tired of too many options for pretty much the same sorts of con­tent, tired of gaug­ing my arbi­trary pref­er­ence for one place over another with no more pro­found or defin­i­tive basis than the “feel” of the user inter­face or some such. I am tired of lik­ing and shar­ing and com­ment­ing. I am, in a word, tired.

Now, before this turns into one long whinge, let’s put on the rhetor­i­cal brakes a bit. I love social media; I always have. I am a nat­ural at it. I almost never have a thought I don’t feel like shar­ing. What I am going on about is noth­ing against social net­works as they are, but rather a recog­ni­tion that some­thing in me has changed so that I am left won­der­ing if I need a change.

There is no doubt that one con­tribut­ing fac­tor in this is my rel­a­tively recent addi­tion of a prox­i­mate wifi device to my every­day carry. Not that I was short of oppor­tu­ni­ties before to flip open my lap­top or tog­gle over to my ever-open browser win­dow on the fam­ily iMac. But now my access to each and every one of my var­i­ous streams of input and shar­ing are pal­pa­bly omnipresent wher­ever the req­ui­site sig­nal reaches.

Some­times I can keep my check-ins in check. But more and more often I find myself “loop­ing” in a man­ner not far off from the sketch in the pilot episode of Port­landia, and that is not a good feel­ing. I am lost in a fog all too often, not fully present to my fam­ily, and unable to ade­quately con­cen­trate on projects and tasks. So what should I do? Cut myself off from the dig­i­tal com­mu­nity? I don’t want to. But I do need to find a delim­i­ta­tion to my engage­ment with said com­mu­nity, and I think the time may be a hand to focus my scope of engage­ment a bit. I am a com­pletist by nature, so just as I strove to col­lect and read every Alfred Hitch­cock and the Three Inves­ti­ga­tors mys­tery, so too I have felt nearly com­pelled to keep a wrig­gling toe in every major social net­work. But I am reach­ing a point where I am ready to say:

Yeah I tried Pin­ter­est, but I just don’t need that in my life.”

Goodreads is a good idea, but I just can’t fit it into my soul anymore.”

Foursquare isn’t a social net­work; it’s a game, and one which yields me no real reward.”

I am not try­ing to paint a scene of win­ners and losers here, but rather, I am try­ing to define a rea­son­able amount of engage­ment with social net­works that still leaves me time and energy to be engaged with, well, my real life. It’s an ongo­ing process, but the sooner I can pare down the num­ber of but­tons on my mobile touch­screen, the sooner I can define what streams of input and out­put are most enrich­ing and mean­ing­ful to me, then the sooner I can delib­er­ately make myself avail­able to the peo­ple and expe­ri­ences most impor­tant to me.

Goody goody gumdrops!

It was Dr. Michael Miko­la­jczak, the pro­fes­sor with whom I took three of my eleven courses in my under­grad­u­ate major (Eng­lish, if you are just join­ing us), who first inspired me to don a bow tie, for which I will always thank him, as I am sure does the gen­eral pub­lic. A col­or­ful and dynamic […]

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