30 August 2014

Ten months till the end of my degree

Well, it's been an awfully long time since I've  blogged here - almost two years in fact. 

I'm not going to beat myself up! I've been studying hard and working hard, I've become an auntie, and played some gigs too.

Life just keeps on coming, as always.

Also, I haven't been silent online either, keeping up with  twitter, facebook, tumblr, instagram and the rest. 

When I changed over to a new smartphone recently, I decided not to add the facebook app. 
I was a bit addicted, and the noise from the feed, coupled with my own FOMO (fear of missing out) was becoming a problem, upping my anxiety levels and keeping me up at night. Also, when the app said it would now be wanting access to my text messages, I thought, "You know, I'm a bit less keen on this app now..."

Much has been written about information overload, and on the whole, I'm quite optimistic about our potential  not only to adapt to the social web, but more importantly, to really adapt social web tools to our own purposes, to integrate them into our daily routine in healthy ways and have them serve us well, instead of us being simply overwhelmed conduits of our feeds, passive consumers, less effective humans.  The seven years since I joined have provided me with a personal case study of how a disruptive technology can affect behaviour and daily life on an individual level, in both positive and negative ways.  After the heady days of full immersion in the exciting world of Web 2.0, I've eventually surfaced with some new skills.  These include, a commitment to filtering and managing my information intake, mixing content consumption with a thoughtful response, and making time for making things which are not digital.

What have I learnt in that time?

  • I will never be bored again
  • I am very good at doing two things at once -  e.g. watching a film and looking up all the other films the actors have been in on iMDB; walking around on a beautiful day and stuffing around with my phone taking pictures of the beautiful day; cooking and also stuffiing around with my phone getting just the right angle of light on my dinner plate while the food goes cold; having part of a great conversation while searching for the next topic of conversation and being present to neither the conversation nor what I'm searching for - AND that doing two things at once is not really the most enjoyable use of my time and life.
  • Of the people I knew at school and found again on facebook, the ones with whom I had wonderful connections in the past are pretty much the same people, except for one friend I hardly knew much at high school who has become an inspiration and a little ray of sunshine in my current life - yes I'm talking about you Megsy.
  • Never get angry about the government, society, or life in general and express yourself on social media if a) it is after midnight or b) you have been drinking or c) both.
  • Netiquette is an actual skill and those who think there is a divide between the Web and "real life" are a little bit deluded.
  • Nobody likes having other people's social web content, e.g. what a friend said on facebook, special interest blog posts, newspaper articles, read out to them without being asked if they would enjoy having the other person's 'fascinating' content read out to them.
  • On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog
  • Done is better than perfect, but you'd better have the facts.
  • If you have gone five hours and don't know whether it was sunny today, you need to step back from the computer/your homework/the social web.
  • Having time in your day where nothing is happening is really important.
It's really sunny outside, so I'm going out in the garden to hang out with the cat

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