Present Tense

Reality doesn’t bite…

I made it through a week without Facebook.  I also cut back drastically on my surfing, emailing, Blackberry and iPad use.  Here is what I learned:  my time on Facebook is driven by a need to be heard, to be seen, to be accepted, to educate, to manipulate and a healthy dose of needing to stir the pot.

Secondly, the changes to Facebook DO suck.  There is now too much information, too many comments, too much activity, much of it inane.  I feel like a voyeuer now that I can see all of my “friends” activities on FB, from comments to tags, etc.  It’s worlds colliding; like a party where everyone you’ve ever known shows up and each one of them knows a different slice of you.  For instance, the “Jane” from work is not the same as the “Jane” from high school, but now everyone is privy to EVERYTHING that you post.  Yes, we were right in our initial gut feeling: the changes suck.

The things I love about Facebook are the posts containing thought-provoking articles, irreverent and smart status updates and the way that FB breaks news.  I learned about Michael Jackson’s death and the killing of Osama bin Laden via Facebook.  By the same token, I’ve read countless bits of nonsense that are completely untrue, that are then disseminated by idiots who rush to re-post without fact checking (my personal pet peeve about the internet in general).

The question for me is this:  Do I have the time and fortitude to sift through the nonsense that unfortunately outweighs the good stuff by at least 3 to 1?  For actual friends, not virtual friends, that answer is probably yes.  I will also cop to the fact that I use Facebook to promote my radio show and this blog.  Which kind of makes my FB jones that much more pitiful; I talk to hundreds of thousands of people for four hours everyday on the radio and share my additional thoughts via the blog.  How much more do I need to be “heard”?

Facebook has it’s place.  Social networking has become part of our culture and a way to stay in touch, stay informed, to advocate, to join the conversation, to waste some time, to be entertained.  What I learned from my self-imposed FB exile is that social networking is to my life, what junk food is to my diet; they are welcomed in small, judicious amounts. Balance, Jane……balance.

October 1, 2011 Posted by | Musings | , , , | 3 Comments

My so-called virtual life….bah!

I’m trying to figure out when I abandoned my real life for my virtual life.  I’m pretty sure that I crossed over after I opened my Facebook account.  Several friends were urging me to sign up in the same way that I encouraged some of my high school friends to start drinking.  “Come on, what can it hurt?  If you don’t like it, you can stop.  Beside, everyone is on Facebook….”

So as a strong, productive, successful middle-aged woman, I bowed to peer pressure and quickly became a Facebook addict.  With my predilection for things that spark the pleasure centers of my cerebral cortex, I should have seen it coming.  You can lurk and spy and surf your friends’ photos and statuses, all while sitting on the couch in your PJs,  drinking hot chocolate (or wine….you know who you are).  It’s creepy and voyeuristic and a hell of a lot of fun, particularly when you live in a very small town, with long, cold winters.

And of course, being the addict that I am, I couldn’t stop with one; I opened a second Facebook account for my radio show. That meant more friends for me to spy on and chat with.  The vast majority of them are complete strangers, for all intents and purposes, but I happily inject myself into their threads; kinda weird for a self-proclaimed social retard.

Next up, a Twitter account to publicize my blog of course, but I never tweet.  I lurk, reading other people’s 140 character masterpieces.  I’ll be honest, though;  I really don’t ‘get’ Twitter.  Maybe it’s because I have a radio show, where I ‘tweet’ everything that’s on my mind for 4 hours a day.  My brilliance is on display every morning on Mix 100 Denver, so I don’t have a burning desire to share every thought once my microphone is off.  It seems like other media types are smitten with Twitter; maybe they just have bigger egos than I do.   Or they don’t have a blog…..

What really kicked my virtual life into turbo-charged, high gear was the adding an iPad to my arsenal.  Even thought it’s an awesome device, the iPad is a digital crackpipe.  I do nothing useful on it.  It’s hard to type on, so I don’t write or create; instead I creep and I surf.  I’m surprised that I haven’t drooled all over it as I robotically mouth-breathe around the ‘net for hours.  Add in a Blackberry and I’m in the grip of some major league time wasters.

I read a blog this past week that eloquently expressed my subconscious discomfort with all of the time I waste on Facebook.  Amy Taylor writes about people beginning to turn off the bells and whistles of their smart phones and ignore their social media connections.  She calls it “The Return to Real Life”.

Well, I’m stealing that concept and I’m returning to real life.  For a week, anyway.  My the goal is to spend less time on the mindless surfing that causes my brain to flat-line and commit to spend more time in the present; reading, writing, walking, talking, eating, thinking, watching, feeling; I need to awaken from my digital semi-coma.

You’ll know it’s working, if I post an update within the week; if not, I’ve fallen off the wagon.  Logging out……

September 22, 2011 Posted by | Musings | , , , | 4 Comments


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