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I've had a new Honest to Blog topic in my head for weeks now, but every time I sit down to write the words, nothing comes to mind. I'm finding it hard to convey what I'm trying to say, so another topic hit me yesterday as I was approaching 29 hours without a cell phone... yeah, tragedy, right? My trusty ol' iPhone met it's fate with a concrete floor Friday and I won't be able to get a replacement until later today. Doesn't seem like that big of a deal, I know, but even just 30 hours later I'm realizing how truly connected I am at all times. If it's not blogging it's Twitter, or Instagram, or browsing the internet and forums. Sometimes it's playing games or reading tabloids. Then when I'm really desperate, Facebook. I honestly can't tell you the longest I've gone without checking my phone... it's always in my hand. (Also why I lose it so much... instead of just leaving it in my purse where it belongs, I conveniently put it down somewhere and forget!) I went to work Friday night without a phone. No way to call, text, email or communicate with anyone who wasn't in my bar. No weekend work rants on Twitter. No cries for entertainment on Tumblr. Nothing. And you know what? It was kind of nice. I still don't know what calls or texts I've missed. I have no clue what's going on on Instagram. I've missed days worth of the "photo a day" prompts... and I'm strangely fine. I've grown so accustomed to having that thin piece of technology permanently attached to my person, I've forgotten what it's like to just step away from the internet. Maybe bloggers are especially prone to this sort of addiction, considering we all share so much of our lives online. Strangers and friends alike can keep tabs on us. Thanks to social media, I am always up to date on what Sally Jo ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner... daily. It's not all newsworthy press, sure. But there are those gems you stumble across thanks to the internet super highway. Still, I've had to ask myself the past two days, how connected is too connected? It's a total first world problem to be without my cellphone, that's a no-brainer... but what did we all do before the internet? Before cellphones? Before smartphones?!
I remember getting the internet for my 12th birthday... it was this exciting new place. I made friends almost instantly. Some of those I still talk to today! I played sports in school, and hung out with friends, but I never had homework so if I were home, I was on the 'net. (The 'Net! Ah, nostalgia!) Not too long after my introduction to the interwebs, I started a LiveJournal. I bet some of you had those right?! That's where I learned how to overshare. Oh gosh, I can't even. I'm eternally embarrassed by the hefty majority of things I wrote on the internet prior to 2010. It's true. Anyway, blogging has taught that there is such a thing as oversharing. I've read blogs in the past that just... golly, put it all out there, to put it nicely! Even as recently as a month or two ago I've decided topics that just don't need to be discussed via open internet. We all have our fine lines... what you choose to discuss via your outlet is your call. We all feel differently about it. But what amazes me is how tied we can be to the internet. Some people just have that need or desire to share things. I definitely fall into that category when it comes to Twitter. Half of my Twitter feed is just work rants and things I ate for lunch... stuff that doesn't even remotely matter to the general public. Yet I still share them. I'm reading this as I write it and laughing at myself because goodness knows that the minute I get my new iPhone (or get mine fixed, whatever the case may be) I'll be tweeting up a storm and Instagramming any and everything once more. It's so second nature to us. (And yes, I'm lumping you into that "us" even though "you" probably have more sense than I do when it comes to talking about your laundry detergent or asking a question on Twitter rather than just Googling it)
I've kind of built up this belief that I "can't live" without my iPhone. It does everything for me. Camera, phone, social media, internet, GPS, notepad, games, etc. It's a real piece of work, that's for sure. (Thanks Steve!) I can't go 2 hours without tweeting, I can't go 2 days without blogging. I almost start to feel a sort of "obligation" to do those things since I've chosen to share my world with everyone. It's so silly to say that and I know I'm going to be laughing/cringing in embarrassment when I publish this. (For those who don't know, Honest to Blog is free of any edits... so that's why this is so jumbled!) I've read blogs of people who have decided to cut back on the internet and step away for a while. Closing accounts here and there, and only partaking every once in a while. That mindset is awesome and I applaud anyone who does it, but I don't want it to have to come down to an "all or nothing" game for me. I know many bloggers choose to not blog on the weekends for whatever reason and like I mentioned earlier, some fence certain topics to keep off limits. Whatever the case may be, I just don't want to be that person who people constantly say "Why on Earth would she tell people that?!". Irrelevant food and off-hand thought tweets aside, it feels good to survey everything and see where I'm allocating my time and energy. It takes a lot of work to keep up with everyone's tweets, pictures and posts... seriously. On most days I don't even bother and I only follow ~250 people on Twitter. That's why when I get to a place like this, I ask myself "Who even cares?!?!" Harsh maybe, but sometimes I need to reign myself in I guess.
This whole post isn't making much sense but I guess it's a forum for me to open up discussion and ask you how you handle your online time. I've mentioned Rescue Time before and even still, I haven't weaned myself off of my internet guilty pleasures. Do you have topics you deem to be totally off limits for internet conversation? Are you guilty of the silly irrelevant tweets like me?
I know a gal who limits her online time to one hour a day (that's pretty impressive!) because that's what works for her. I don't think I could ever make that work for me (then again, once I become a mom I'll probably be all about it!) but it's worth a wonder. I've met so many wonderful people through the internet and I love keeping up with all of them (even if that means knowing exactly what brand chili powder they buy at the supermarket), but sometimes it's just too much. Sometimes it's nice to turn off the phone, avoid all email, and just enjoy present company. Watch a movie, go to the park, grab ice cream or go for a drive without the constant need to document it. This is totally anti-new year's resolution for me (to take more pictures/document "real life") but I'm hoping I can find a way to make both of them work simultaneously. There's that silly picture above and it's so spot on. A few months ago we were at the City and Colour show here in Nashville and Dallas asked the audience to just put the phones and cameras down for one song... just one. It amazed me how many people couldn't just sit for three minutes without snapping a photo. I understand trying to document memories and moments, but when does it cross over and become the problem? We miss so much of life's happenings because we're too busy figuring out our cameras or phones or letting the world know we just ate the most delicious panini at this cafe... It seems so counterproductive to blogging, but I'm curious if any of you have found ways to make the most of it, while still being able to share those adventures with the online world.
This isn't one of those posts with a fool-proof answer as it's simply a matter of opinion. I know I'll be obsessively tweeting and Instagramming again later today but hopefully I can remember how nice it was to disconnect for a bit and enjoy life as it happens. Feel free to share your thoughts below if you have any. This lacks the drama or emotion that a lot of my HTB posts have, but I still thought it was worth touching base on!
Now I'm going to go enjoy some lovely friends who are showing at a bridal event today. Then I'll come home and recount how many tweets and pictures I share from said event and call myself a hypocrite! Have a lovely Sunday friends! xo
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