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on reading and technology

19 August 09

i got an iPhone recently.  i know, i know, but here was the reason i caved:

1)i needed something that i could connect with my google calendars (i have many) wherever i was, and i didn’t want to carry around a paper version that i would have to somehow configure to match and keep up.

2)i had lost my mp3 player, and use it to listen to podcasts as well as music-and needed a replacement.

3)the only camera i have (other than my holga) is a large, very nice but very large and heavy, digital slr.  it’s a great camera, it takes good pictures.  however, i often missed great moments because i didn’t want to lug my camera everywhere, and had been talking about getting a small camera for some time.

the above three, packaged in one tiny little thing that i actually Would carry with me everywhere i went, plus notetaking and voice recording for interviews, and so many other things, all together?  it just made sense.  sure, sure, i was lured by its pretty package and all those bells and whistles.  but when i sat down and wrote the reasons for it, and wrote down what i Needed (well needed is relative i am well aware), i realized that it actually would be cheaper, even in the long run, to buy the pretty little all-in-one package than to get these items separately.


off i went, to become even more of a machead.  i had moments of pangs of guilt, picturing foster shaking his “freedom of simplicity” book at me in disgust.  but for the most part i have concluded the purchase to be a good one.

however.  today.  today, i happened to grab a book as i walked out the door to the bus, a book a friend had just returned that i read nearly every year because it’s just that good:  the fires of spring, by michener.  fiction worth rereading, that’s a real rarity for me.  waiting for the bus, my phone died.  no battery.

now, normally, on the short 12 minute bus ride to and from work i catch up on my facebook and emails, i check out what’s been fed to me on my reader, basically i surf the web.

but today i read a book.  one story line, beautifully written, transporting me to another time and place.  it was heavenly!  it was stress relief.  it was slowing down.

and i noticed: now that i also have internet on my phone, i am attached to it all the time.  i wake up and i turn on pandora.  i ride to work and surf the web.  all day at work i’m in front of a computer, internet at the ready.  my work even involves things like researching twitter for crying out loud!  i ride home, surfing again.  and i check in incessantly with email and facebook, all these little snippets, none of them carefully crafting a storyline together.  nothing fluid.  bits and pieces.  disjointed, you might say.

i suddenly realized this morning that i used to be a bookworm, and now i’m a facebookworm.

so, unlike the cell phone, the internet usage has gotten UNuseful.  it has overtaken parts of my life that i love, gotten too big for its britches, lessened the quality of my life.

this calls for slightly drastic measures.  i am starting a new habit, a new way of interacting with internet “life.”  thankfully, i have a pressing deadline for an installation for ArtPrize to help me keep in line-i don’t have Time to be dawdling online.

instead, i will measure and meter out my internet use.  i will make stuff and write and read (for inspiration for the making of stuff, of course!).  i will take photowalks and have conversations about beliefs and doubts (also fodder for the installation, of course!).  i will sit on the porch with my husband and sip wine by anti-bug candlelit in the late hours of the day.

i will still love my iPhone.  i may break up with Facebook though.  he’s kind of possessive of my time.  for now, i’ll just see if he’s okay with casual dating again.  can you really ever go back?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. diane nienhuis permalink
    19 August 09 9:15 am

    Good for you! You can do it!

  2. 19 August 09 3:01 pm

    Not to be a killjoy, but who do you think is going to read what you (or anybody) writes anymore, unless it’s in “140 characters or less” form, or something close to it? In other words, I’m not sure we can fight the way our world is going. I love the written word as well, and as a kid, I was a voracious reader . . . I still read a ton of words each day, but it’s rare that I read a whole book at one time. Instead, I read hundreds of blogs, and probably thousands of FB status updates (I still consider Twitter to be FB’s superfluous, less attractive twin).

    I mourn the loss of grammar (although I’m not very committed to capitalization, I grieve daily over people’s non-use of the ever-wonderful hyphen) and miss the days when I read real books on a regular basis . . . but part of me is loving this world we’re in now, and I don’t know that I could ever “break up” with FB . . . it’s my community, my source of entertainment and conversation, and though I wish I could quit it, I know it’s just not going to happen.

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