Wednesday, July 6, 2011

My Love/Hate Relationship With The Internet

I love the internet. Like, I seriously love it. It's amazing how it can connect all kinds of people and ideas. I use it for everything. I use it a lot. I'm sure a lot of you are in this same boat with me. And along with loving the internet, I also love my non-internet life. I enjoy just hanging out, going to dinner, taking walks, going shopping, and all that other good stuff. Finding a balance shouldn't be difficult, right?


Well, recently I've my feelings toward the internet have started to change (slightly). I feel really obligated to do certain things. I MUST blog every night at 11. I MUST fill up my Tumblr queue. I MUST look through all my new twitter followers and follow back. I MUST then read through all of their tweets. I MUST respond to blog comments (I try, really, but I am so bad at this one). It's started to feel like an obligation. Part of this obviously comes with the territory of being a blogger. If you want to build an audience, you have to be consistent in all forms of social media (the ones you use, anyway).

NOW, before you think that I'm just blogging to get an audience and that I don't actually like it - let me clarify. I LOVE BLOGGING. I LOVE TWEETING. I LOVE THE INTERNET (remember?) I seriously love all of those things that I mentioned above, too. It's just that as I've become more a part of this community, I've built up more relationships, discovered more blogs, and joined more networks than I ever expected. It's become A LOT. So I feel I should cut back juuuuuust a little, in the interest of quality over quantity. I still want to follow everyone on Twitter and read through all of your tweets, but it just sucks when a bunch of people who follow me just do it so I'll follow them, then I just get barraged with nothing but links to their etsy shop. And I have to weed through 10 of those to find every 1 of you who actually update your twitter and interact with people, etc. So from now on, I'm not checking my list of followers to follow back (and I'm cutting back on the ones who don't update regularly), so that I can pay more attention to the rest of you. If you follow me and want me to follow you back, it's pretty simple: TALK TO ME. If you respond to my tweets or mention me in yours, I know that you actually USE TWITTER and don't just auto-update it from blogger or etsy. I'll know that we can have conversations and you'll actually say things I can relate to, and then I'll be way more likely to follow you.

I'm also going to stop receiving comments to my email. I honestly think email is my most neglected thing. And when I receive comments there, I often pass them up because I see a note from a client or boss just above it. I want to respond to you, but my brain just doesn't work sometimes, and then when I do reply, I often realize (after my message is sent) that it was sent to or whatever. So that sucks. I'm just going to respond to comments on the post or just leave a comment on your blog. I'm sure I'll be more likely to actually do it then.

Another thing I'll be cutting back on is Tumblr usage. I love this site because there's so much inspiration there, but there's also a lot of nonsense. I get really frustrated when I see really neat artwork that isn't sourced or when it's source is then you go to We Heart It and it's source is Tumblr. What? I also follow a lot of people there, and I always feel like I have to scroll through and see EVERYTHING. It's sort of unnecessary. I like updating my feed with fun craft projects, pretty outfits, and Harry Potter shenanigans. And I'll reblog the junk out of some knit pizza scarves, but I think I'll set a 10 page scrolling limit. There's no need to look at 40 pages of people running through fields and hearts drawn into the sand. There just isn't. Plus, I like Pinterest better these days, anyway.

I think that's a good start to cutting back so that I can really enjoy my internet experience more fully. I also want to say (in light of my being SO BAD at responding to comments) THANK YOU to everyone who reads and comments here. I honestly do appreciate it. And now that I'm regulating my internet usage, I'll be able to show more love to your wonderful blogs too!

So now I want to hear from you. Have you experienced anything similar to what I'm describing? Ever feel like some of your social networks have become a burden? How did you deal or cut back?

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  1. I totally get where you are coming from. I always feel a bit guilty saying this, but it's true: If someone comments on my blog and says "I love your post. HEY! Follow my blog!" ...I rarely reply. I MAY check their blog out, but unless I like the blogger and love what they post, I don't follow. In fact, that's true about EVERYONE.

    If I like someone and their blog, I follow them. I refuse to follow just for a giveaway or just because they asked. Because why would I follow someone/something I have no interest in, you know?

    As for Twitter, I love Twitter. It's like texting with friends all around the world - which is a MAJOR plus when you don't have a cell phone. ;) I've made so many friends through blogging and Twitter, that again, I only follow people I know and like on there and I only follow certain celebrities who I really adore and who actually update their OWN Twitter!

    I don't have a Tumblr. I have Facebook, but I am NEVER on there. I have a Pinterest, which I abuse pretty much daily and I check my e-mail about 1,000 times a day. It's a bit addictive. :P

    I totally agree with you. Do what YOU need to do to love your time online!

  2. I totally agree with this post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It's given me something to think about. Even though, my blog doesn't have quite as many readers as yours :) It still can get overwhelming at times...I feel like I spend all of my time checking twitter/facebook/blog/email...and then begin again. I'm really working on limiting my time online as well. It just sucks you in!!!
    Good luck on cutting back!

  3. I have been cutting back on my FB time so I have more time to devote to other online pursuits.

    I do sometimes think I should get out more but I am a certified internet addict! ;)

    The Cat Hag

  4. Thanks, you guys! You both always leave great and thoughtful comments, and I appreciate knowing I'm not alone in feeling this way :)

  5. I feel you! To answer your question have I experienced anything similar, the answer is yes! And what I did was end up deleting the accounts that I wasn't loving and felt like was soaking up all my time. So i deleted facebook (the one associated with my blog not my personal account) and tumblr. And it felt great! You do what you gotta do. It sucks to feel like you have to post this or that. The last thing you want is to feel like your blog is a chore. :)

  6. I really REALLY relate to this. And I've only been doing the blogging thing for like a month now. :/ I can imagine it only gets crazier.

    Sometimes it's a big challenge to be genuine. Or to find the genuine.

  7. you're def. not alone! i think the online work is an amazing thing but it can also suck the life right out of you. it's def. info overload - so it's good to learn to find the balance. the part that isn't so fun is trying to figure out that balance. i feel like i've been learning that a lot lately - and it's probably a process we'll continue to be learning.

    thanks for sharing, friend - keep up the good work!

  8. This EXACT same thing hit me the other day. I am with Alycia; I went through and cleaned up the blogs in my blog reader, because it was totally out of hand! Tonight was my first night to not be on the internet constantly, and it made me twitch. Baby steps.

    But I do love the internet and the inspirations and connections you can find there. All in moderation, I guess.

  9. Good idea!
    I wish i could do this...I honestly think my life would be boring without the internet..which is insanely sad.

  10. Yes, yes, yes! I can totally relate. I have been trying to cut back lately as well. I went through & cleaned up my Twitter feed and unfollowed some blogs that I never read anyway. It felt good :)
    I hate the "I have to blog, I have to list new items in my shop, I have to...whatever" feeling, but I'm right there with you! I have been trying really hard to ONLY do those things because I'm inspired to, not because I think I have to.

  11. I completely agree. I try to keep my online-doings to a minimum, just because I feel like I could miss out on a ton of potential fun things out there in the "real world". I feel guilty if I'm online a lot, be it Facebook, tumblr, whatnot but I have this compulsion to clear things out and have them "finished", like Google Reader -- it has to read 0, I have to go on and read every little thing.

    I've been feeling lately that I should tone it down, or at least exercise some control over it. Thanks for bringing this up! I think it's something that blogging can definitely feel like it comes into conflict with.

  12. I've had a couple of posts like this recently. It's been tough because I feel like the list of things to do on the Internet only grows, it never declines. I can never check enough things off my list to say I'm finished or almost ahead. So the only option for me is to cut back and not drive myself crazy.

    I've started scheduling everything in my Google calendar. And by everything, I even have meals and relaxation time in there to ensure that I have time specified for it. If I don't do it that way, at least right now, I feel like I'll always be wanting a break.

  13. i went through internet overload about a month ago. i found the best thing to do was to step away from the internet for a while. for me that was two weeks; i didn't blog, facebook, tweet, etc. now that i'm back, i've made a schedule for my self, limiting my time on the internet so that i don't get overwhelmed again. i think it's just all about finding a balance, and that can be different for each person.

    thanks for sharing! it put things back into perspective!

  14. Just wanted to say, I really like your blog and always make a point to read it.

    I have never even looked at Twitter! Is that weird? lol. I just don't feel like I need another online obsession.

    I have only been blogging for a short time now. I started because I have way too much down time at work.

    Your right though, do what you like and feel and who cares about the rest!

    Good luck!

  15. I really know how you feel! I LOVE blogging and I am so happy I have found so many new internet friends who are so sweet and creative and inspirational! I don't really like those comments on my blog and Twitter that just say, "follow me and I'll follow you back". It kind of hurts my feelings in a way, because it makes me think they just want to build up their follower tally and don't even care about reading my blog, and that's not my purpose in writing! Since spending more time on the blog and Twitter, I have come to realize there just isn't enough time in the day for more social media. I always say I won't join, and then I always do, hehe. But for now, the blog and Twitter is enough for me so I don't have to spend a kajillion hours online everyday! :)

    I hope you have a great day!

  16. Ohhh yes. A while back I forced myself to deactivate Facebook for about two weeks because I knew that I was WASTING way too much time on it. But I also get to the point where I feel like I HAVE to read every single blog entry of every blog I follow and I haven't yet figured out how to deal with that...because I don't really have time to do it but I'm forcing it to happen anyway :-/

  17. I definitely know where you are coming from! It's nice to feel like I'm not alone! I do feel like the internet takes over my life at times, and in the past I've had to have breaks from blogging because I start doing things just to be able to blog about them, or when I'm out somewhere I will be thinking "oh I should take a photo of that so I can blog it later" - it's like you start adapting your life to fit around the internet, when surely it should always be the other way round?! But such an insightful post, thank you for addressing so many thoughts and fears that have been in my head. xoxo

    PS. and thank you for your super sweet comment on my blog about the HP premiere. It was such a wonderful evening, and I just wish everyone could have been able to go!

  18. I agree with you. I am finding facebook is my biggest addiction and I need to cut down on it majorly to maybe a time limit per night or every second night. I feel like I am wasting time on there A LOT. It is just so addictive because people update all the time etc.


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