Jun 18, 2012

TL;DR - and TL;DW

I think the most frustrating experience with the internet is TL;DR—too long, didn't read. I have a long list of longer articles that I know interest me and that I want to read but the energy just isn't there. Or the focus isn't. Or the time.

How annoying! All this knowledge literally in my lap (or at least near it), and still so out of reach!

I was reading about how productivity may be killing creativity over at Lifehacker, an article about how we distract ourselves by staying online rather than allowing ourselves to go offline and "'do' less and 'think' more". There was this long quote from "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" that, at the time, was TL;DR. But I knew I wanted to. I knew it was about my hunger for something more than status updates, for information that feels deep and significant and not like another piece of trivia.

Once again, I find myself wanting to write. To rekindle my existence on my blog, because, honestly, this is where I live—in every sense of the word. This is where I want to share what's happening with me, this is where I want to do my thinking and feeling—not on Facebook or Twitter.

Blogs are still a full meal, while Facebook and Twitter are snacks and lattes. So let me go back to that quote about the loss of the metaphorical "slow food":

The Chautauquas were pushed aside by faster-paced radio, movies and TV, and it seems to me the change was not entirely an improvement. Perhaps because of these changes the stream of national consciousness moves faster now, and is broader, but it seems to run less deep. The old channels cannot contain it and in its search for new ones there seems to be growing havoc and destruction along its banks.

I'm not sure if havoc and destruction apply to the effect the internet is having on us, but everything else Pirsig is saying fits—and we are a good 35 years on since he wrote his maintenance manual. Which, by the way, is actually about mindfulness. In a world where we are inundated with sound bytes and short messages and multi-tasking, mindfulness is becoming the next big thing. People do want depth, and pause, and room to both explore and finish a thought.

Sitting here, ignoring the fact that it's past my dinnertime, losing myself in typing, thinking, wondering how my reader(s) will receive this has been a wonderful moment of down-time, of focusing on one task. This little bit of writing has calmed me.

TL;DW: Too long, didn't write.

Not any more.

9 comments:

Jono said...

It was your writing that drew me along to follow your blog for nearly five years. I am not sure why attention spans are getting shorter, but I don't think social media can shoulder all the blame. I still enjoy it when you write.

Keera Ann Fox said...

I am flattered, Jono! Thank you! :-)
I think we have so many avenues for information and gadgets for these avenues, that we often find ourselves distracted rather than informed. Social media are both an avenue and a distraction, and so are cell phones and computers.

alice said...

Yeah, too many gadgets. During a recent discussion with a friend, I realized that I honestly cannot remember the last time I was bored. And I don't think that is a good thing. When I'm home, I have the computer and iPad to keep me either busy, entertained, socializing or distracted. When I'm away from home, I can still keep the information flowing with my smart phone.

And then after a while, somehow, I find myself trying just to keep up with the flow of information -- which keeps coming in a steady stream -- and not having the time for things like reading books, or even longer magazine articles. At some point, the gadgets stopped helping me to control the information, and the information started controlling me.

I'm pretty sure there is an app that will fix it all, though, right? ;)

alice said...

ps. Yay to your writing more and getting back to the blog!! I've missed you! (and I hope I can join you...)

Keera Ann Fox said...

Alice, that bit about the information stream taking control is exactly what I'm experiencing myself. And yes, there is an app for it: News feed reader. ;-) I keep having to whittle mine down. It's a drug, this information highway.

Thanks for missing me! Your blog inspires me. I'd like to be able to return the favor. :-)

alice said...

You already do!! And thanks to the wonders of the rss feed reader, I keep up even when you're not posting very often.

And yes, the feed reader is both a blessing and a curse. I add feeds, I get overwhelmed. I delete feeds, I feel out of touch. I add feeds... rinse, repeat... ;)

Keera Ann Fox said...

I thought that was the whole idea with a reader. ;-) And having said I was going to write more, I am now distracted by other activities.

However, I was given a blank notebook with a hard cover, and I plan to write in it when I'm away from the computer.

alice said...

My latest distraction/excuse has been food poisoning. Greg and I were both down with it all weekend. :-P I'm only now getting back on food, but still lacking anything that resembles energy...

(And there's always that droid app for blogging, though as you point out, the typing can be quite tedious!)

Keera Ann Fox said...

Ack! I hope you're both feeling better!

If the poisoning is not need-a-doctor severe, the old wives' remedy of drinking apple cider vinegar is helpful. I've tried it for a mild case. 1 tbsp in a tepid glass of water per hour until symptoms ease up. (Did make me throw up, but that's a good thing in such cases.) Also works on children with stomach bugs/diarrhea; dose is 1 tsp per glass for kids.