Prepare for a brain dump.
The last few weeks I have felt disconnected and uncomfortable with the internet and social media at large. I guess it started in Santa Barbara. I got a break and then I didn’t want to come back. It’s just all too easy. It’s too easy to get sucked in, caring about things I don’t need to be caring about. It’s too easy for me to avoid the things that are truly important to me with stupid time sucks. Which is kind of a problem, since a big part of my job is my participation in my blog and other online outlets. I need to have balance in order to have a successful business.
But I find myself spending too much time reading the words of a lot of people I don’t know, and some that I don’t actually even like. Because it’s so easy to do. Because there are things to procrastinate. Or there are people who I know that read them, and so I think I need to as well, in order to keep up. I mean, hey, I don’t want to miss out. WHAT IF I MISS SOMETHING REALLY GREAT?! Even great in it’s ability to irritate me or get me running to Jeff to tell him about this crazy thing I read online? It’s crazy town, completely bonkers, and I go through these phases every once in awhile where I actually see what I am doing and I cut it all out. I start thinning the herd. I delete people from my bookmarks, I streamline the amount of people I follow on twitter and facebook, I wonder what the hell I am even doing talking about my own life online.
So that’s the space I am in right now. Wondering what the hell I am doing here on this blog, and what the point of all of this even IS.
I am a photographer. My blog is my main source of getting my work out into the world, and hopefully getting people interested in it, and me. I want that part of my job to be honest and sincere though! I don’t want to manipulate people into liking me. So there is the biggest issue. In order to appeal to the masses, you have to be slightly bland, and definitely thoughtful about what you write, so as not to offend ANYONE. It’s fence sitting at it’s supreme. This feels manipulative to me. I hate it. I want the space to be free and be myself, no matter how ugly or offensive that might be. Yet, I know my husband, who works in a typical office environment works the same way. There are a few people he can really talk to. The rest get the surface stuff. This is what happens in a professional environment. It gets dicey with that statement, because I am unsure how “professional” I want to be. Professional sounds cold, but it also sounds smart.
I am also a writer. I have been my entire life. Beginning with punching out stories on my grandma’s typewriter in elementary school. My childhood goal was to be a young adult fiction writer. So there is a part of me that is still that girl. That still wants to write. The best writing is the writing that comes from a deep place. The kind that connects to another person’s deep place. That isn’t necessarily “professional”.
I am a mother. I love the aspect of sharing. When I was a young stay at home mom, my ONLY source of connection and understanding was through the friends that I had online. Since I could hardly make it out of the house, I depended on them to help me through the days. They were there on hard days and celebrated with me on good ones. They still are. I love the ability to share something in my life in order to connect to other people with the same problem/issue/obsession/etc. It has a way of opening life up and making it bigger, at the same time making the world seem smaller and more connected. When you share truth online, it gives people space to breathe, to know they aren’t alone. Ultimately it does the same for me.
I work from home. Social media is my lunch with coworkers. It is my smoke break. It is my 2pm meeting. Maybe I am taking too many breaks?
I am a current events/pop culture junkie. I absolutely LOVE knowing everything that is happening right this second, anywhere. When shit goes down anywhere in the world, @CNNBREAK let’s me know on Twitter. And if they don’t, someone else will. But maybe I don’t need all of that information in my head. Maybe my head is so full of it that it can’t remember to go deposit those checks at the bank or to force myself to get outside and exercise. I don’t know.
I was talking with a friend recently, a friend who isn’t online. ANYWHERE. If you googled her name it is quite possible the only hit would be this blog, because I wrote about her. It was interesting hearing her perspective. She is out in the world, man. She has real life, in person connections with people every day. Good and bad. We were laughing about social media – about how she just doesn’t care about what other people are doing. And she certainly wouldn’t make or have the time to comment on it. This was not said in a selfish way. It came across as perfectly normal. I mean, I have interactions and connections with people online everyday. Does having them online make them less real? Does it make hers more meaningful due to the simple fact they are in person? All of this made me think – why do *I* care? Do I care? Am I normal? Are we normal? All of us who are constantly checking our smart phones for updates? Are we going to regret all this screen time? Or is this just the way the world is now, and if we don’t keep up we will be the same as our parents who couldn’t understand how to work a VCR? Or how some of our parents still don’t know that you can google ANYTHING to find out what you need to know? If we step away from it all will we be lost?
What works for my friend wouldn’t work for me. I can see why she doesn’t need to be online. Why it doesn’t work for her. However, I am an introvert and I have a child who keeps me home a lot. I work from home. More than half of my job is spent at a computer. I have built relationships with people I have met online. Some of these relationships are my most cherished, and the longest friendships I have been lucky enough to have. I don’t want to stop giving to those friends or being a part of their daily lives.
The community I have built here on this blog is also very important to me. I want to give to you guys, too. I want you to know I appreciate the time you spend here, and I want to do better and better by you every day. Maybe some things need moving around. Maybe I need a work space and a personal space. Maybe I need to stop worrying about being bland and just mesh the two a little better.
Maybe I need to experiment with focusing outward a bit more. I want to use my screen time in a beneficial way, and not a compulsive one. I want it to work for me, with me – not against me. The people I look up to, the lives I see being lived that I want to live, don’t have a whole lot of internet time going on.
I don’t really know where I am going with this. But I’d like to say this: if you have noticed me being quieter online, cutting my friends lists, or having shorter blog posts, everything is okay. I am just working some shit out.
My job is attached to a computer.
I don’t want my life to be.