It is 8:53 pm; with two kids it creates another dimension in space-time which all parents must pass through that adds another four hours. In other words my clock reads 8:54 but for me it is more like 12:53 AM as I’m completely exhausted and well past my bedtime.
But I was determined to have at least a half an hour of “me time” even if it is the wee hours of the morning in this dimension that lasts until the little ones turn ten or so and want to be left alone from time to time.
So what to write about in this post? Let’s talk about technology and finding a balance. With my smartphone I find myself addicted to information and my eyes continually seem drawn to the latest news, Facebook posts, weather, stock valuations, whatever. Half of what I read tells me I simply must try the greatest new app which promises to be the best thing since sliced bread.
I beg to differ.
It is time again for the big app shakeout. I need to rid my phone of 60% of the apps and simplify. The whole “social” movement has gone overboard and I’m really not interested in what somebody said on Twitter which they’ve actually started including in news casts. There are billions of people out there and they’re all saying something. Going “Social” is like stumbling into a room where everyone is talking at high volume and it is nearly impossible to focus on only one for an extended period of time. It is a great place to develop attention deficit disorder. There is so much information I find that I no longer read anything but instead scan it; I skip over many lines at once looking only for keywords and an article may only draw out eight or so keywords whose sentences I actually read.
This fact became very clear today when I gave a sincere effort to finish Walden on my Kindle. In Walden life is slow and Thoreau hones in on the glorious world all around us. He sees the intricate words of bugs, keeps detailed notes on how the ice forms and thaws and describes the movement of squirrels across a wide open field. He doesn’t have a million people commenting on the movement of squirrels, apps sending him notifications when the squirrels are close-by or ratings on which ones are most interesting. Thoreau doesn’t concern himself with the next generation platform dubbed Squirrel-me or have to make a decision on which app to choose to best understand his furry neighbors nor does he have advertisements trying to get him interested in chipmunks since they are similar to squirrels. With so many voices, and apps regarding squirrels to choose from – which most all must figure out a way to monetize squirrels – he simply uses his God given ability and five senses to understand them and is able to focus – he is able to study squirrels peacefully and take delight in their presence.
It is my opinion that all this noise is driving us insane. There have been studies that say living in a city with all its noise is detrimental for mental health. The same can be said for the virtual world – all the noise is simply not good for a peaceful mind. This is not lost on the app developers as I’ve learned apps have been created to establish a time to stop the distractions and find a bit of peace.
And so, it is time for me to disengage, to return to a balance and find my center. I need not concern myself with the endless barrage of “news” which must be pushed out daily as these are no longer public services but money making machines. Along with the Twitter “somebody said something” they now include in the news we also find that editors are continually dumbing down their content to include lists and everything must be either shocking or amazing to draw more eyeballs to the article. Distill what happened to a concentrated form and put it in a list for easier digestion – that is the addictive tonic editors now prepare on a daily basis and they can never brew enough just as corporations can never have enough money.
I’ve grown tired of the websites and apps that continually want to horde more of my information in order to increase profits. It is time to use technology towards my own benefit – such as writing here in my personal journal. The next “thing” in technology should be focused on enhancing the individual and not to horde their personal details for monetary gain. The websites and apps that currently do this are Wikipedia, Google Maps and advertising free blogging sites. There are others but most of them pepper me with e-mails and advertisements which become difficult to unsubscribe from or click out.
The internet – which started out as a great way to share information for free – has been monetized and that isn’t going to go away anytime soon. I am in need of a spring cleaning to free myself from the noise and distractions on the web.
And now it is 9:28 PM and I’m about to do a face-plant into my computer. I’ll try not to check the news and Facebook as soon as I awake tomorrow but old habits die hard.