Life in the Slow Lane

A funny confluence of influence has led me to turn off the “10 meg pipe” that spews nuggety information into my life. There was a general intuition that I was drowning in tweets and rss feeds and so on, even as I tried to grin through it and tell myself I was productive despite the onslaught of other people’s genius. There was the conversation at dinner a couple of nights ago with deeply respectable academics and writers who’ve shut down the pipe themselves. And there was a nice article I read, Sad as Hell, which questions the whole thing.

So as a bit of an experiment, I’ve decided to completely stop paying attention to Twitter, RSS feeds, and the writer’s group forum I’ve taken to hanging out on. It’s not so much that I spend a lot of time of these things explicitly, but I think there’s a possibility they take more mental space than they deserve.

In particular, the Sad as Hell article made what felt at the time like good points about the sheer triviality of so much stuff that we read through those media. The ephemerality of so much of it (tweeted today, forgotten five minutes later) is both appealing and interesting, but also somehow like eating a lot of candy-floss. Delicious for a while, but not nutritious and ultimately a chore. More than anything, following all the “stuff” gave me a vague insecurity complex, a sense that I wasn’t measuring up to the big brains out there or, at the very least, not keeping up with all the happenings.

So now I’ll be missing out on a bunch of memes, and some well written and reasoned blog posts about games, religion, and other subjects. I guess I’ll find out how that feels and whether it’s badly missed. Most importantly, I guess I’ll find out whether not pointing my mind in that direction allows it to point somewhere else, or simply for it to be less pointy and more relaxed and receptive.

Hell, maybe I’ll read a book…

6 April 2011
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