Friday, June 28, 2013

World's Worst Blogger?

Perhaps I am, or maybe not. Maybe I am just like millions of other people out there who think blogging sounds like a great way to express oneself, who quite like the idea of writing stuff down, but for whom the reality is somewhat more difficult.

The trouble with the internet is that it is The World's Biggest Time Waster. Ever. Today I am supposed to be finishing up an assignment, on the Benin Bronzes since you ask.

In the mornings I like to drink my coffee whilst checking my course groups and forums, doing the crossword and generally checking that all is right with the world. And therein lies the problem. Inevitably someone posts an interesting item, a funny video - this morning it was a flash mob of an extract from La Traviata - which was all well and good, but then comes the overwhelming urge to check out all the other flash mob videos on YouTube. Two hours later my assignment still isn't polished.

By the time I am on my second cup of coffee I discover that my Lovely Daughter has blogged and that she is trying something out called bloglovin which, apparently, replaces Google Read. Now I am not a techie, I don't know what Google Read is or what it does and I am quite sure I will never understand what bloglovin is or what it is for (much like Instagram - another one of my daughter's 'things') - that didn't, however, stop me going over there, looking around and signing up. Which means I now have quite an array of useless online.....things? activities? web page interests? I don't even know what to call them but so far we have......
Now, I know a smart phone, or a tablet, aren't online things, but rather bits of technology to further enable the myriad of online things we can and, apparently must, do in order to live a life full of fulfillment and joy.

But, dear reader, I am sure you see the problem. The internet is supposed to make our lives easier, when in fact all it does is fill them with what is, let's be honest, a whole lot of useless, time wasting activities which do nothing more than kill our brain cells. Stone Dead.

I saw this somewhere the other day
And I have to agree, but, I also want to add that since 'the internet' has now overtaken television, or so it seems to me, as our activity of choice during any free time we happen to have laying around then surely those books are in even more danger. Certainly I firmly believe that too much screen time, of any description, dulls the brain and has a detrimental effect on concentration and memory - and I think that research indicates that as well.

So what to do? The horns of a dilemma is never a comfortable place to sit.

Get rid of the electronic items that feed the compulsion to read and share information of all kinds, no matter how inappropriate for some people. Try to limit one's online time? What, I wonder, would happen if someone pulled the plug? What if we woke up one morning and the internet was just gone? Would we remember how to communicate properly? Some younger people probably can't remember a time when text speak didn't exist, when phones were fixed line and most people only had one - in a shared room in the house. Who writes letters anymore? Few of us. We can't go back - but perhaps we can all try to have a smaller cyber presence and a greater physical one in the lives of those around us.

So what started as a blog about, well, not blogging, has finished as a blog about the pervasive nature of online activity and technology. Huh. would it have been more fun as a face to face conversation? What about if I had written it, by hand, in a diary?

One final thing to think about. I play Facebook games - yes, yes, I am that annoying person who fills your wall with requests for all kinds of weird and wonderful things. Like a lot of people I play it as a way of relaxing, switching my brain off, all of those things. The people I play with are mostly, like myself, women of a certain age, and a few husbands who have been roped in by their wives. Anyway, last week *all the games on Facebook* crashed, completely, couldn't get into the farming games, candy crush, words with friends etc etc. The reaction was, not to put too fine a point on it, hilarious. As if the world was going to end.  So what would happen if someone turned the internet off? Worth thinking about.