Diary of Digital Dependence

February 19, 2010

02/11/10

This is an ongoing experiment that will document how much I use technology every single day.  Just so I don’t add to my time by blogging, I’m writing this all on paper.  Already I’ve noticed that it’s strange to write with a pen.  Nowadays I only jot things down as reminders that eventually take me to a keyboard.

Second thing I notice: is my handwriting worse than a few years ago?  Not sure.  It’s easy to feel alarmist about technology and think most everything is going wrong with it.

Thursday I say myself down and wrote.  In Word.  Like all writing seems to be done.  I surprised myself when I didn’t think of e-mail or Facebook once, as accessible as they were.  I can still focus for two consecutive hours.  Good sign.

Friday.  Studying is one of those things that can still be done in the real world.  Unless the study guide is online, in which case I try not to print it out.  It’s been five weeks and I have no more than seven pages of notes used for any given class.

I had an excuse to be on Facebook this time.  I was getting help from a friend.  Spent several hours picking at three different projects.  Ran through the halls at 4:59 with paper in my hand for 5:00 deadline.  (Hopefully didn’t write in fragmented sentences like this one.)  The doors shut behind me.  I was brain-dead after that; didn’t have the mental energy to look at actual pages, but had enough to look up the next video in that accursed YouTube series “Charlie the Unicorn.”  I closed the tab in a panic when I felt my prefrontal cortex devolving.

But alas, thus went my evening… didn’t I have three books I’d started reading but hadn’t looked at since the semester started?

Saturday went like Thursday.  The weather was gorgeous, but with a computer, an hour outside had to mean an hour not working.  Despite the sunlight pouring in, most of the light I huddled under was artificial.

Sunday, a horde of much-apreciated-albeit-time-consuming friends swept through the house like a tsunami.  I was Sri Lanka.  I was essentially occupied from 11 to 8, when I barred the doors to my room and typed until the wave of humanity had receded.  Not to be a prude here, but obligations are strange little things that, no matter how they go, risk being regretted.

Monday went like Saturday.  You know how the internet is a compilation of billions of websites, all just a click away?  I spent two hours doing every click but the one I’d been meaning to.  Once the Facebook Chat opens, each friend takes an hour to leave.  This is in part because Facebook Chat is slow, and there is no worse time to leave than when the program is down, every 20 minutes.  Courtesy, and unfinished conversations, kept me awake and busy.

Tuesday and Wednesday were oddly merged with the maelstrom of long-belated work making sense of mountains of data.  You wouldn’t believe how much good information is out there which just isn’t “scholarly.”  It’s also true of facts which one knows but cannot find confirmed by anyone on the web.

I have realized by now that I have a nightly tradition.  Facebook is my dessert for the day.  Even if I “couldn’t spare a moment” and “didn’t have time to breathe” all day, I forcibly demand that half an hour be spent passing the time in e-mail and tagging friends’ walls.

Time management is funny like that.  It may not be the number of hours to the day, but the number of them we use… and what they’re used for.  Perhaps we give ourselves too many priorities and too little time to work towards them.

Or life is just hard unless you’re a bourgeoise.  Giving morals to stories is so passe.  Conclude what you will.

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