"Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Plank Pullin': It's not you, it's me...

It’s Plank Pullin’ time! The one day a week that we strongly resolve to ignore the multitude of specks and sawdust around us and pull one bona fide plank from our own eye. Matthew 7:3-5, style. 

I have a smart phone. I don't have an iPhone (I tend to be anti-Apple in general). I have an Android, and I love it. I don't actually need a smart phone, but it's one of my very few splurges, and I do like to be able to read my emails, check my Facebook, have access to my Googlemaps, etc etc when I'm on the go.

The one condition - which I put on myself - was that when I got a smart phone, I wouldn't become one of "those" people. The people who choose their phone over actual interactions with the people around them. The people who get so wrapped up in their phones that they are being rude to the waitress who's just trying to give them the daily specials, that they are ignoring their kids who only want a minute of their time, that they are missing out on being present for anything because their relationship with their phone comes first.

I vowed I would never become one of those people, and I haven't. I use my phone, I enjoy my phone... but never at the expense of real-life interactions. I use it, and put it away, sometimes not to look at it again for several hours. And it's oh so easy for me to look down my nose at those attached-at-the-hip smart phone users. Pssssh, I'm not so glad I'm not like that with my phone.

But. Um. I also have a laptop.

My laptop is open all day.  Every day. I am on it - off and on - all day.  Every day.  And it doesn't matter what I logged on to do, whether it's respond to an email or look something up or work on a blog post..... I always end up at the same darn place........

A word about Facebook, if I may:

I think it's invaluable.  I do.  Especially for someone like me, who (partly by design and partly by circumstance) has very, very few "real life" friends who really GET me.   Someone like me, whose default mode of operation is to withdraw from everyone when I'm feeling off.  Someone like me who  - thanks in large part to sites like Facebook - has found the importance of a tribe, and the importance of meaningful interactions with other people.   Through mediums like Facebook, I have been supported, uplifted, and challenged.  I am continually meeting interesting people and reading thought-provoking things.   Especially now that I've brought my blog to Facebook, I am often overwhelmed with gratitude for all the amazing people that it's allowing me to come in contact with. 

But (and seriously, grab this plank with me.  It's a big one)  It is a huge distraction for me.  Huge.  I spend a lot of time - not long periods of time, but three minute here and ten minutes there, that ADD UP - that could be much better spent.  And it's not all sunlight and roses either.  Much of it is, if I'm being honest, time-wasting drivel.  For every good article, interesting blog post, and enlightening video is an inane and off-color Obama joke.  Or another person re-posting the same, "99% of you won't repost this" status update.  Or a request for boards to build your barn, or money to fund your mafia, or coins to unlock your secret wonders of the universe. (Disclaimer:  I have nothing against games, or the people who play them)  It's all just a reminder that, despite my best intentions, I have become one of those people.  It just wasn't with my phone. 

I know a lot of people leave Facebook for those very reasons.  I have done it myself for brief periods of time.  I don't think that's the answer (for me) though, because it would be like the proverbial "throwing the baby out with the bath water."  I do think that there's a lot of good to be had from Facebook, to be sure.  But there's a negative too.  I need to tip the scale back to the positive, cut back - waay back - on letting myself get sucked into the drivel, and let the negative fall off the other side. 

And so Facebook, I'm not breaking up with you. But I do think it's time we start seeing other people.

Like the Path Less Taken on Facebook


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