We have a remarkable ability to know exactly what things we’re doing are harmful to us … and then we keep doing those things, until we decide to stop.
For anyone who feels this Internet emptiness chewing at them, I would say, do a little test. Go outside and take a 15-minute walk — around the block, through the park, just a short walk. While you’re doing this, clear your mind of work and of home. Just look at things, birds and cars and trees and the clouds and buildings and dumpsters, and when you think of something internal just say “Thinking” to yourself and go back to walking and breathing. Then return to your computer. Do the usual things you do on your computer, like check the news and your email and the blogs you read and whatever people post on Facebook and Twitter.
Do this second part, the computer-looking-at, for just 15 minutes. You can set one of those web timers … hang on, I have one in my bookmarks.
When this stopwatch beeps, honestly ask yourself how you feel. Compare this to how you felt at the end of your 15-minute walk. Ask yourself what, if anything, you learned during those 15 minutes of wasting time on the Internet. Did it help you in some way? Are you better off? This is a question often asked by political challengers: Are you better off than __ years ago? Well, are you better off than fifteen minutes ago? If not, don’t re-elect the Internet.
GM: That’s a slogan for our time!
KL: Yeah, a Cafe Press t-shirt!
Anyway, the answer is almost certainly going to be No, you’re not better off. But you’re going to be agitated now, both restless and slothful, and you’re either going to feel something negative about somebody you don’t even know or you’re going to want something you don’t need.
I like that Ken Layne cares deeply about shit, even if he seems scary and mean sometimes.
The point he makes here is becoming an oft-repeated one and will continue, I figure. It rings true for me. Blogs and social media and personal projections: agitated, restless, slothful, feeling something negative about somebody you don’t even know, wanting something you don’t need. Yep.