Distracted

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I’ve been online since the mid-80s, but like most people, my role was primarily that of consumer. I started with email listservs and usenet newsgroups, reading and sometimes participating in discussions (and the occasional flame war). My wife was the first to show me the web (she was excited by all the educational and outreach materials people were sharing) but I couldn’t see the value of it. Yeah, I know…

Then I found some online journals (this was pre-“blog”) and found myself devouring the details of other people’s lives, marveling at how much they were willing to share. No ads, no monetization of any kind, just self publishing in it’s purest form. But again, I was just a consumer.

I went through a brief glimmer of productivity when I got into linux and set up an ftp and web server for my flow cytometry lab. I was teaching flow cytometry workshops for researchers and grad students, and I started putting that content online, using the Gimp to create and edit graphics, and even creating some simple animations. All that content’s been gone for years (I left the lab in 2000), and I fell back into the consumer role, a comfortable one for a kid of the Gilligan’s Island generation.

That changed when I took the YourTurnChallenge: in the past two weeks I’ve cranked out more content than I have in the past 5 years, and it’s been a rewarding ride. But I’ve realized in the last few days that I’m out of balance, and it’s a mild case of social media addiction. I’ve connected with a number of interesting and productive authors and artists around the world, and now I’m constantly checking facebook, reading the blogs of all my fellow “challengers”, and in danger of spending too much time consuming. So I’m going have to issue myself another challenge, and ration my passive consumption of content. I’m thinking of trying 30 minutes in the morning (to catch up with all my late night friends) and then another 30-60 minutes in the late afternoon or evening. Any other time facebook is closed, notifications off.

For those of you who’ve taken the challenge, has it changed your online habits? If so, do you have any tips for maintaining a balance between consuming, creating, and all the friends and family you see in person?

hoto credit: Chapendra via photopin cc

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Distracted

  1. I can really relate to this. There are so many interesting people and blogs in the YTC that i there just isn’t enough time in the day to see them all. I am certainly much more active on Facebook and Twitter since this challenge began, but am focusing on making sure I ship my post before I get caught up in the social media world.

  2. nydia

    I hear ya! I’m pretty active on social media on a regular day, and as a result of YTC, I’ve definitely spent more time online than I actually have available at the moment. I try to keep my YTC reading to late evenings/nights, when everything else has settled down. (It’s also when I end up writing, unfortunately!) I try to do what I can without feeling pressure to do more. In the end, it all has to be manageable. We’ll get there!

  3. Suzy

    We’ve had a blitz lately, but I think it will even out soon. I’ve ramped up my FB time because of YTC, especially over the past weekend, and realize I can’t keep that up! It’s been nice to get to know everyone, but I believe we’ll all slow down soon. That’s a good thing and a bad thing. 🙂 😦 Once the new wears off, we will get back to our routines. Again, good/bad.

    • “Once the new wears off”…that’s when it will get tough to maintain our good habits. Knowing everyone’s out there reading and responding really helps! Thanks Suzy.

  4. Patrick McGaughey

    YTC has definitely changed my habits. I hadn’t checked Facebook five times in the last year before it started, now I’m on several times each day. I do most of my reading and writing at night but do check briefly in the early morning. I’ve become attached to reading what people have to say and enjoy seeing comments that come in on my posts. To this point, I don’t think it’s gone too far and has been a positive change for me.

    • I agree Patrick, I was the same way. One thing that’s helped me is to adjust my notifications so I only get alerted about updates from true friends and this group. That way I can keep up without having to wade through so many cat videos and shared superbowl ads. Best, Steve