Today I was thinking about how overloaded my internet-life has become. I have signed up for a barrage of social networks and services, websites, apps and so on, but rarely use them.
On the other hand, they use me – to annoy me by sending promotional materials, information about my flights, and what not. We, the new generation internet users, have a tendency to not miss out. The thought process is very simple “What if I miss out this [insert latest discussion/gossip/chat/news] and end up being the odd wo(man) out in a chat among friends, or worse of all, am ridiculed by them for not knowing about it?” This mentality has made the picture below an apt representation of the modern generation.
There is simply SO MUCH information out there that it is overloading our brains and our time. I know friends who are Facebook/Quora/Twitter/YouTube/[insert popular website here] addicts – chasing the next popular fad/news/story/[whatever] – spending hours on such websites.
The internet is slowly becoming a prime source of information around us, and involvement with it has become necessary. But as with all things – only to a reasonable extent.
Recently, I realized that I am spending way too much time on bullshit stuff on the internet. I am not a normal internet user in the sense that the mundane does not interest me. I am fascinated by gadgets, innovations, technology and so on. And I read about them for hours on end.There’s just so much to cover – so much out there.
It is like gambling – you think you will win the next one, but the house always wins in the end.
You pick a topic – any topic. Even the smallest most insignificant topic. And I can guarantee you that you will never be able to cover all that has been published on the internet (I am not even talking about the deep web, whose content you cannot find on search engines like Google). By ‘never’, I am not talking in a metaphorical sense, I am literally talking about the second your brain stops working (the point of medical death).
I always knew this, but I never realized this.There is a difference between the two. You know smoking kills – but you only stop on the day you truly realize that. Get what I mean?
How many times has this happened with you?
Maybe not the exact same way. Maybe it was a computer or tablet in place of a smartphone. But you get the point.
I have heard cases of some of my friends who have held their ‘nature’s calls’ just so that they could finish up the Post/Article/Answer/Story/[whatever] they were reading on the internet. I know people who could not sleep at night because they were binge watching a TV Series, YouTube or movies. [Matter of fact, this is one of the reasons why I am afraid of starting up on a popular TV series – The only TV Series I have binge watched was Sherlock (from Seasons 1 to 3) and the fact that I watched it non-stop without food or even attending my nature’s calls for 50 hours scared me]. I know people who have skipped their classes just because they found some interesting stuff on the internet.
And who am I to talk about others? At times, I have done some of these things.
Anything when done in excess is harmful. The more the excess, the more the harm (even if it is water). And this philosophy certainly applies to the internet.
I cannot tell what your optimum consumption and “diet” of internet should be. That depends on your requirements and expectations from the internet, and you are the best judge of that. Some people, like those who make money solely off the internet, need too much interaction with it on a daily basis. Some, like a professor, require limited amount of interaction with it. But if you are using the internet (and I am talking about every part of the internet – emails, messaging, studying, social media – anything) to the point that it is significantly harming your goal/purpose in life, then you need to think on it.
And I did just that.
Today I phased out the unnecessary part of the internet I was involved in. Deleted my accounts from bullshit websites and apps I never used , blocked stupid promotional email addresses and websites and all the good stuff. I am even in the process of organizing my email addresses for specific purposes (more about that in another blog post).
For me, the internet is very important. I have made some very good friends whom I have never met, but discuss about a lot of things with, (and so do they with me), on the internet. I get my daily dosage of what is happening in science, research and technology from the internet – something I cannot literally live without. I get important notifications about college activities and events on the internet. The internet has many times saved my ass from problems. Even now, I am writing my thoughts and opinions right now about the internet on the internet for others to see, on the internet.
The internet is the source and sink of many of my ideas, thoughts and opinions about reality. It has become essential for my individuality. It has become essential for my intellectual survival.
But too much of anything is poisonous and I could now allow that. It was high time I simplify my internet lifestyle and make things simpler instead of needlessly complicating my life and wasting my mental energy on useless things.
The internet is a means, not an end. And till today, I had forgotten that.