Friday, October 16, 2009

The Day of Internet Addiction

Today's Friday, which can only mean one thing: a round up from Laura!

Good Friday, Bible re-writers and re-readers (and writers and readers for the first time). Your Bible edits from last week were hilarious and, in some cases, penguin themed, vampire themed, zombie themed, and cat themed. But my favorite Bible (and thus the winner, because that's how a cheerocracy works) was filled with judgment and sexiness. So congrats, Anonymous (God? Is that you?), and please do send me your pocket size Bible—my pockets are empty. New contest below!

In non-Bible news, blog type readers, I have something to share with you all: I am considering quitting the Internet. Yes, the whole thing. I just found out the average internet user is online for 68 hours a month, and I think I spend that much time online in like three days (I really, really wish that was some sort of joke or exaggeration). And, to be honest, I'm torn about how good technology is. I mean, sure, texting can make you a better writer, you can get free things to help your writing online, see a digital version of Jung's red book, and take e-books out from the e-library. And, yea, you can get the new solar powered LG e-reader, or make a DIY Kindle (or a home bookscanner!), or download Tracy Morgan's audio shenanigans. But what about all the bad things?

Oh yea, there are bad things. For example, book browsing: dead. And adults don't listen to Jim Dale's song about turning off cell phones. And Twitter is making us all functionally illiterate. And I'm really not sure how I feel about computers proving that Shakespeare had help, or the mass tweeted Gaiman audiobook. And although the Pynchon/Grand Theft Auto comparison is pretty cool, does anyone really need 886 palindromes?

Maybe if I spent a little less time on the Internet (read: unhooked the USB from my veins) I could read a book a day, or do crosswords about authors. I would have time to read literary journals (unless they're dead), listen to records to appreciate the book-to-vinyl metaphor, and really appreciate characters that like to read. Hell, I could even read this book about Jenga. And I love Jenga. And I am so, so good at it.

Then again, I am a boorish American (these colors don't run, in either the legs moving or the in the wash sense), and we are one of the lesser book buyers in the English language, so maybe I wouldn't read more if I stopped being so Internet crazed. Americans steal rare books (but return them!) and library books (but have poignantly touching stories about said theft that may or may not have made some people who blog at PMN emotional). And America is the genesis of both Michael Jackson's posthumous graphic novel which, holy crap, I want to read so bad, and the Simpsons phenomenon, which has recently spawned an unauthorized history and a Playboy spread. And eventually we'll learn how to treat Native Americans with respect (happy belated Columbus Day, by the way, and sorry about the smallpox!).

You know what else is American? Ghostbusters (also, apparently, Maureen Dowd being late to the Ghostbusters pop culture party). Even more American than that is leveraging your vaguely ghost related '80s celebrity to promote a book on seances, as Dan Aykroyd is doing for his dad. My challenge to you all: come up with a terribly apt celebrity promotion for a much beloved (or much maligned) book. And let me know: should I cut back on my Internet time? Or are the rest of you right there with me in terms of addicti—I mean, enthusiasm?

23 comments:

  1. Internet can be a time sink. But like anything, it needs moderation.
    I thought the Neil Gaiman book was kind of cool when I was participating in it real time. It showed me how many different ways a story could be taken in just one sentence.

    I'm only on the intertubez if I'm at work and have some down time. It's the only slot that works for me.

    Perhaps you have a slot? Maybe you could give yourself one hour per day to consume internet stuff. That way, only the bare essentials like e-mail, keeping up with the most entertaining/important blogs, etc. would get done without all the unnecessary things.

    Or maybe just cut out enough time so you're able to read a book a day, and once the book is finished, then let yourself go online.

    I anticipate small companies with brilliant ideas on how to coach people to manage their internet usage and social networking platforms will spring up all over the nation. We have life coaches. Why not internet coaches?

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  2. 68 hours a week? Someone is seriously pulling down our average. Clearly the surveyors split their time between large, coastal cities and hamlets without laptops, phone lines or electricity. Now 136? That I buy.

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  3. I haven't found that my internet use has cut down on my book reading - in fact, in reading the various writing blogs out there, I come across other book recommendations that I add to my list. As I appreciate your blog, I hope you choose to continue it but that's my selfish side - what about an internet holiday instead? Then you could see if there was an actual difference in your activities before making a permanent decision. Happy Friday! :)

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  4. Jon & Kate Plus 8 being seen with a copy of A Series of Unfortunate Events.

    What, too mean?

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  5. Roman Polanski promoting Lolita.

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  6. I too am an addict of the internet. It's the information age--nothing to be ashamed of! If I were limited to 68 hours a month, it would seriously cramp my style. I rely on the internet for research! and learning Icelandic for Free! and, uhm, well, obsessively checking my email...

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  7. Actually I gave up internet (and cell phone at the same time) once in college for a week, and it was one of the best (although probably not the most convenient) weeks of my life ever!

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  8. I do recommend cutting back on the internet. I did it recently.

    In my case, I just realized how much negativity and fluff I was filling myself with. So, congratulations! The fact I'm still here means your blog is neither sneering nor silly. :-)

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  9. Excellent round up!

    I'm also too connected to the Internet. Last night, as I checked my email for the 80th time in a 24-hour period, I realized out loud that I had become a pathetic, Net-obsessed byproduct of living in the information era. Must. Stop. Twittering. Someone should start a 12-step program to wean us addicts off the Web.

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  10. No, Laura, don't do it! If you aren't wasting- er, I mean, investing, the hours on the internet then who will provide us with all the brilliant links?

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  11. I answered one of those phone surveys recently (temporary insanity) and the young guy doing the survey asked how many hours I spent on the Internet each week. I did some quick math and said, "I don't know, a 100?" The guy actually screamed, "No freaking way". He wouldn't believe me so I told him it was really 75. But I did the math again and it really is about 100.

    My question is this, for those people only spending 17 hours a week, what else are they doing with their time? Don't say "talking to actual live people" 'cause I just won't buy it. :-)

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  12. Laura - I think you should do whatever is best for you...as long as you keep writing these Friday posts.

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  13. Holly Bodger: THANK YOU I feel like a crazy person when I actually do the math. I think the way I would answer "How many hours are you online each week?" with "How many hours am I awake?"

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  14. Well, since you brought it up...I have been meaning to go cold turkey on the Internet. I remember what I USED to do with my time--play the piano, garden, read books, talk to my husband etc etc. Okay, I'm going to try to quit AGAIN. Really. But I do like your posts, full of all these interesting links...sigh.

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  15. It's not an addiction if you can walk away for a day from the computer/internet/etc and not end up laying on the floor in the fetal position crying out for 101101010101's.

    I am okay with how much time I spend on the internet. Frankly, it's expected in the Industry I want to work for not to mention an important resource in my courses. But I'm not everyone.

    HOWEVER, the 'how many hours per week you do X' is really just a shock value to break perceived "bad habits". Taking this to the extreme, how many hours do you spend in the bathroom? Can you help that? No. So stop worrying about it. If you think its a problem, evaluate what you are doing on the internet. If most of it is basically refreshing certain sites then cut back *slowly* to adjust to an amount you're comfortable maintaining.

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  16. I also rock at Jenga... maybe we should make a website :P

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  17. Sarah Palin pushing "Gidget Goes To Washington"...Wait, did you say a book???

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  18. I try not to think too much about my internet-addiction (think ostrich with its head in the ground). I do know however, that I could never ever EVER give it up. I hate talking on the phone and I love how easy it is to shoot off a quick one-liner to someone online.

    I have also seen how someone without the internet gets left behind in terms of social events/updates. My mother-in-law has no internet experience, has never owned a computer, and even balks at the idea of using a digital camera. She is only in her fifties but she refuses to join the information-age and is subsequently out of the loop when it comes to family news and gossip. My grandmother in Sweden emailed me until she lost her sight at the ripe old age of 88 so I don’t accept the age excuse from anyone.

    Ultimately it is your choice, but I know I would feel too far removed from the world to log off permanently.

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  19. It's too late, Laura. We're all pod people now!

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  20. Oooh how about Britney Spears doing promotional appearances for "How To Tell if Your Boyfriend is the AntiChrist!"

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  21. I anticipate small companies with brilliant ideas on how to coach people to manage their internet usage and social networking platforms will spring up all over the nation. We have life coaches. Why not internet coaches?

    Coaches? No. What I want is someone to literally assume my internet identity and be social for me.

    Spouse notes: this type of thing along the lines of a professional-assumed-husband-platform might improve her marriage.

    Rats.

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  22. P.S.

    Just informed by spouse that an average of 68 hours a month onspouse would be just about right. But, only if said professional-assumed-husband-platform were as cool and as good-looking as Neil Gaiman.

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