I find myself very frequently lately just stuck in a mode of constant consumption, switching from one thing to the next as though I have ADD. But I've never had ADD, and I don't think it's something you can develop over time. Instead, I think it's some kind of mindless desire to discover the next great thing.
I've spoken my gripes about Facebook before, and I'm sure the mentality developed from spending too much time on that site. It's really easy, when your life doesn't feel terribly exciting, to scroll through the endless Facebook feed and discover all the great things that other people are doing. But it goes on beyond Facebook, into other things. News, videos, chat, email all promote this desire to see what the new thing is, and when that thing is consumed, there's this void of wanting something new to arrive and fill it.
It's not even that I want to see new things, but I'd rather not be doing mundane things, even though the mundane is what's helping me reach toward my real goals. It's ironic that I'd think that keeping up with the next piece of news is somehow brining me into the future. In reality, I'm not getting anything done while the world accomplishes what they're reaching toward, and I'm just stuck as the consumer.
This whole thing is reaching a point where I just want to uninstall my web browser because it would cut out every bit of distraction there is. Yet, I need the web browser to complete things I need to get done; the things I'm making to better my life are all written for the web whether public or private. And it's also hard to do this because my friends are on Facebook or Twitter or Google, and it's very easy to keep in touch with them through those mediums. So, instead, it feels a little like being a caged bird.
I think what I desire is complete organic freedom from anything, so I can do what I want to do without worrying whether I'm forgetting or neglecting. I want those good old days where the Internet was a means to something else, and not the destination; I could get online, download what I wanted, and get off the Internet and go be me in the "real world".
I want to quit Facebook and segregate my world. I'm tired of having to have 2 or more services open on screen just to use one of them. I don't need my Facebook feed open to chat with people on Messenger, and I don't need Gmail open to chat with my Google friends. AIM was a great thing in its day, and I still have my account there, and it was great because it was just chat and no email or news feed. I could have it running in the background and not have to check in on it for it to interrupt me, and when I didn't want interruptions I could close the program or use an away message.
I'm going to prune my YouTube subscriptions to cut out all the things I feel are just adding to the noise. There are some great content out there, but there's also a lot of people just adding to the noise by doing stupid stuff or talking an opinion on someone else's opinion that doesn't matter in the first place. So, if I don't have some real-world connection, or find the content to be creatively valuable, and it's just adding to my list of time wasted with little return, it's coming off my subscription list.
I'm also going to unsubscribe from as much email junk as I can. I get get a lot of email that I don't even read, so I really just need to stop receiving stuff that gets in the way and just adds one more decision to my day of whether I should or should not bother opening to read.
I want to get to a point where I can check the many feeds once or twice a day and free up the rest of my time to actually planning and accomplishing my own life goals. Maybe I'll even write a program to keep me on track so I don't have to do all this work to stay on task day in and day out.
At the end of the day, it just comes down to how much I spend following the motions and not thinking for myself. It's like I'm forgetting who I am because I spend so little time paying attention to what I am doing and far too much time seeing what everyone else is doing. I'm not saying I don't care about these friends and people and what they all accomplish; I just feel like I'm doing nobody a service by watching and not investing.
There used to be a day where we could dial into the Internet, communicate for an hour, then leave and go back to the creative explorations we were driven toward. And it's really true that the connected world is gluing us to our devices and not to the people in the rooms we occupy. Even cameras are taking us away from experiencing the things we're watching. It may be great to have something to look back on our memories, but it's also breaking our focus. Where are the services providing pictures to the audience who are more focused on being part of the experience happening on the stage? Why can't I enjoy a show, come home and have an email or something providing me access to a set of photos that sum up the experience that I was fully invested in? Why can't a portion of my ticket go toward hiring a camera/film crew to record what I'm immersing myself into?
I've been part of this Internet for over 20 years, and I think there's something to be said about being too connected to consuming stories online, and not enough creating stories offline; it's the next lost art, and I hope we someday see that there's a balance to be had between telling/hearing stories and creating/living stories. For me, I want to get out of the motions and start living offline. I feel stuck, and I need to get out of the Internet. Funny, I used to have an old DOS program that emulated someone saying, "Help, I'm stuck in the computer, and I can't get out," and that's becoming more and more true in this age.
- Stuck In The Motions