how much is too much?
This struck a chord with me.
I'm online a lot (as people know) and I have been steadily since 2004, when Sex Scenes opened for business. Back then people used to call me Sex, or sometimes Starbucks. I had dozens of wonderful friends who didn't know my real name or what I looked like. (Clue: I was younger, thinner, and prettier then.) In the nine years since, I've found the Internet is like anything in life: it's all about the people. I'm fortunate to still have wonderful internet friends (some of whom have become wonderful RL friends).
Aaand, sometimes people are jerks, just like they are in RL.
But I had an extreme opposite reaction as what Paul Miller sought, in 2004-5 when I first started blogging. As opposed to learning who I was by being offline, I learned who I was online.
There is unequivocal freedom in anonymity, which the Internet lacks these days, especially for me and other writers, who must "get my name out there." Facebook changed that; everyone is known there. In a way I'll always resent Facebook for that, because that time of namelessness meant so much to me as a person and as a writer. My early years at Sex Scenes taught me people want to read what I write. I found a voice (often different than my fiction voice, not always to my benefit). I learned to write, yeah. I also learned to be me. Essential stuff for a writer.
I'm doing a new thing where I'm dropping off FB and emails on weekends. Really, I'm pretty busy weekends anyway, and I'm not so rigid I won't toss up a tweet about going to a Rockies game or whatever. But I realized I've had too much interaction lately. I'm a loner at heart. I need alone time, and time with friends and family, and that's best found on the weekends. I'm getting kind of snarly about protecting it and it comes out on the Internet. So...not much Internet on the weekends.
The Internet has a certain siren song, though: the instant gratification of response, something sorely lacking in a novelist's life. But I'm monitoring myself that way too, and using it as a reward sometimes. And let's face it, sometimes we need to just fuck around. Sometimes I wonder if many writers need to fuck around more than other people. Where better to fuck around than online?
I neglect things because of internet usage; I also write instead of clean, plant flowers instead of social network, read instead of sleep. You know, so many hours in the day and all that.
It's a common refrain to say we're online too much. But really? Are we? How do we define "too much" vs "just right"? I'm not sure we can or should quantify it, but can we qualify it?