TED Talk: “A Year Offline, What I Have Learned” by Paul Miller was intriguing. As we focus on Mindfulness this week, I feel that this TED Talk was the perfect start. I often think about what life would be like without the internet for me. I use the internet at work, home, for school, and some social media. As Miller said, “The internet was defeating me” so he took a year off from it. In that time he was excited to read books, become emotionally connected in conversations, and enjoy real life. What he learned is that boredom was lingering constantly. He used his time constructively sometimes by engaging in real conversations & connecting with people but also used a lot of his boredom time playing video games. He also learned on his year off that he missed a lot of the photos and videos of his nieces and nephews that were posted on the internet. So ultimately, taking a year off did not fix the issues he was having. The moral of his story is: You need to find the balance between the internet and life outside of the internet. Know that you have power over the internet and we’re in charge of our own lives. We are the ones who get to dictate what we do with our time.
In a personal connection, I struggle with this often. I have Facebook for the sole reason of seeing my cousins, nieces, nephews, and family conversations. We live in many different states & it keeps me in-tune with their lives as well as with what’s going on in my life. The reason I have Twitter is to develop a PLN that I will use in my professional life. I don’t put anything personal on Twitter. Other than that, I don’t participate in social media. I choose not to because I am a young mother raising a daughter and I am passionate about that. I want to play with her, teach her patty-cake, how to say new words, blow bubbles, and play outside. I found this quote that I feel is applicable to why I choose to balance my internet access, “If I could give you one thing in life it would be to see yourself through my eyes so you could know how special you are and how much you mean to me.” This is for my daughter. I don’t want her to know her mom as always connected to a computer or my phone. I want to be actively involved in her life & to make a difference in her world so she can grow up and make a difference in this world.
In the article, “Simplifying the Internet” I was thinking, “Halleluiah! This is what I’m saying! People think I’m crazy but this is support for me.” In the article it says, “Simplifying is about making choices — just put out your best, and cut back on the noise” (Babauta). This is a great tip for how to simplify your exposure and connection to the ever-fast-paced world on the internet. I love the email simplify list. I honestly look at my work email and go, “Ahh, 350 saved from the last 3 months…Do I really need them? But what if I need to reference them someday?” Seriously, I’m not going to need them. Deleting immediately. As for my personal email, I only check that when I rent textbooks or order from an online site to see my tracking number. I never check it & don’t care for another inbox to maintain.
In all honesty, this is the BEST resource for me right now. Just over a month left in this semester, 7 weeks left in the work schedule before summer & the sun is shining: perfect timing to do some spring cleaning in the world of internet access & email inboxes.
And to sum up the positivity of simplifying and letting go of our infatuation with the internet, the kids who did the 3 day challenge at Convent & Stuart Hall in San Francisco called, “What Happens When Teens Try to Disconnect From Tech for Three Days” by Katrina Schwartz most said they felt a “sense of freedom” “relief” but others saw their phone as their security (like a grown up security blanket). Although it was short-lived some students really embraced the challenge & grew from the experience. “It was almost a wakeup call for how dependent we are on technology,” Namara said.
This is the week I have been waiting for. I knew that all of these great resources were useful but like anything else in life: moderation is best.