Experiment: internet abstinence

Every once in a while I get the feeling that my life is being sucked away by all the time I spend puttering around on the internet.  This is especially true after a couple of weeks of dreary weather and friends who have left to go on vacation. The only logical course of action in a situation like that is to spend all one’s time playing flash games, reading blogs and stalking people on Facebook. However, like most repetitive activities done whilst bored, after a time that routine gets really old.

I can’t help but wonder if I’m slightly addicted to the internet.  While it’s not quite the same taboo as being addicted to internet porn, there’s something unsettling about realizing I can’t get through my day without checking the weather channel more times than I brush my teeth.

This week, however, promises to be different.  For one thing, the weather is supposed to be lovely. For another, I only have a couple students to teach, so my days are relatively free.  For yet another, my long-lost fiance, who I have not seen in a couple of months, is riding into town in his noble Subaru.  Tonight.  And staying for a whole week.

In an effort to wean myself back into the real world, I’ve decided to try an experiment this week: internet abstinence.  Email will be checked once per day, since that is my primary method of communication with the outside world, but the internet browser will remain unopened.  Blogs will remain unread.  Free flash games will remain unplayed.  This blog will remain unupdated. (Admittedly, the change won’t be seen much here, since my blogging seems to have deteriorated into a once-a-week phenomenon, but you get the picture.)

So, gentle readers, I will return in a week, hopefully with tales of wonder from the real world, and hopefully without too many symptoms of withdrawal.  You can expect an onslaught of comments on your own blogs when I get myself caught up. Later, alligators!

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To tweet or not to tweet

That is the question these days, isn’t it?

It seems like everyone I know has gotten on board the Twitter bandwagon. Every day I see more friends on Facebook posting statuses announcing their virgin tweets.

I have to confess, I’m not sure if I’m ready yet to take that plunge.

Sure, I like knowing what my friends are doing.  I’m nosy like that.  That’s why I stalk my friends on Facebook.  But my voyeuristic side could beat up my exhibitionist side.  I’m sure I would do much more following than leading, and that would sort of defeat the purpose, wouldn’t it?

Besides the fact that complete strangers can follow you, as opposed to only your friends, I’m not sure I understand how Twitter is different from Facebook.  I mean, a tweet is just an update of what you’re doing at the moment.  How is that different from a Facebook status?  It all seems a bit redundant.

That said, while Facebook is reserved for people I have actually met in person, it’s not as if the rest of the world won’t know what’s going on with me.  That’s what this little corner of the internet is for.

Having once hijacked a friend’s Twitter account, I did notice something troublesome: the manner in which one searches for people.  It seems that unless you know a person’s username, you’re out of luck.  Real names seem to mean diddly-squat.  Case in point: I searched for someone by name, and I know for a fact that this person has a Twitter account.  Twitter pulled up no matches.  What’s the point in searching by name if the name you enter doesn’t matter?  Not having a way to search by email address without actually inviting that person isn’t exactly helpful, either.

In any case, I fear the possibility, nay, likelihood that any tweets made by me would quickly degenerate into updates from my phone as I walked through the apartment:

“Standing up now.”

“Tripping over the cat.  Why does she always walk directly in front of me?”

“Opening fridge door.  Can’t remember why.”

Right.  Because you all need to know that.

I’d like to have an open discussion about the merits (or lack therein) of the phenomenon that is Twitter.  Do you tweet?  Why do you do it?  Convince me that it’s a worthwhile use of my time and I’ll consider joining in the fun.

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