Wednesday, November 6, 2013

7 ways you're wasting time on the internet
Oh the Internet. 
What a wonderful/terrible and brilliant/stupid thing.....right?

I remember my first Internet experience--I was in the 6th grade. There was a small group of us that got to meet during class and do extra math and science (read: I was a nerd).
We gathered in the library with our teacher, and logged on:
20 minutes later, we were "online".
Online was white box with a blinking cursor--and we were supposed to type something clever to the fellow nerds that were waiting to hear from us across the state.
A chatroom.
The next few years brought famous dancing internet babies, Napster, and eventually, email.

Today we can access any information we need in just a few seconds. We can keep in touch with friends (and our friend's friends!)
We can sell our cookbook (get it HERE!) 
See how I did that? Thanks, internet.

It's wonderful.

It's also a huge waste of time.
I am reminded of this every time we spend a day or a weekend in the great outdoors--away all the craziness. Our lives CAN go on without the internet, believe it or not.

So let's use this amazing tool. Let's connect with like-minded people and share useful information. Let's find all the good on the internet and soak it up and spread it around......
.....and let's STOP wasting our time on the following:

1. making fun of people
This is the WORST. In the last few years just about everyone has gotten a phone with a camera. I LOVE having a tiny camera with me--it is a dream come true for someone who loves to take photos. But what I've noticed recently is more and more pictures just flat out making fun of people--and being posted online. Photos of strangers in the store with "bad hair" or photos of kids in your daughter's class with "terrible outfits" (seriously! I was pretty ashamed to find out that I have "friends" who are actually that shallow.) 
Just because you CAN take a picture, doesn't mean you should. 
So stop it.

2. selfies (aka, unnecessary pictures of your boobs)
We all have that friend--the one who takes waaaaaaaay too many pictures of him/herself. The "bathroom mirror" selfie. The "driver's seat" selfie. The "I'm holding my baby so it looks like a picture of her....but clearly it's a picture of ME because I look so cute today" selfie. Or the "describe the events of your day while clearly just taking a picture of your cleavage" selfie. This is the worst selfie, but makes me laugh every time.....because it's soooooo obvious. Am I right here?
Stop posting so many pictures of yourself.
Yes you are beautiful and you obviously know it, and we obviously know it, but what a waste of time taking all those photos. No more.

3. comparing yourself to others/
feeling sorry for yourself/
Somewhere, right now on the internet, someone is taking a fabulous vacation, building their dream home, having their 14th perfect adorable baby, getting a 3rd promotion at work, or buying $700 shoes. If you are on the internet (um, hi, you are right now) there are fantastic things happening all around you. Don't feel like your life is any less fantastic, just because right now--at this very moment--you aren't doing those same things. 
YOU do wonderful things too. Wonderful things happen to YOU all the time. Don't forget the good times because you are so caught up in what everyone else is doing RIGHT NOW. If you find yourself constantly comparing, step away from the internet. As easy as it sounds--just count your blessings--look around at what YOU have--little and big things (but especially all the little), and don't get back online until you're done comparing your life.
And you had a bad day, and want to feel a little validated by sharing it. Ok fine. But constantly using social media platforms to complain about all of your "problems" is only making it worse. You are digging yourself deeper and deeper into a sad little hole by using the internet as a dumping ground. Buy some ice cream, call a friend, and cry it out old fashioned style.....without the internet.

4. reading too much "advice"
Like we talked about up above, there is some fantastic information on the internet. There is also TOO MUCH information--it can leave your head spinning. Remember THIS post where we talked about eating well? If you read too many articles on health and nutrition you will end your day not knowing what to eat. If you read too many blog posts on the right way to parent, you will go to bed at night wondering how you will ever deal with your kids in the morning. You do not need to read every single piece of advice ever written--on any subject. 
Make some decisions for yourself--exercise your brain and use your own ideas.

5. pinterest is 95% a waste of your time. 
I absolutely love the term "Pinorexia"--brought to you by the smart and witty Meg of Meg In Progress. Pinorexia – a condition caused by uncontrolled pinning and pinterest related arts and crafts. Symptoms often include hot glue gun burns, excessive quinoa consumption and a general wasting away of original self. 
How much of the "stuff" that you have pinned has actually benefited your life? 
Stop planning the exotic vacation you're never going to take (and it's only making you sad that you're not taking it) and stop wasting time pinning recipes that have 17 weird ingredients you are never going to buy.
Waste. Of. Time.
Use it to save a recipe you actually WILL use. I have found some favorites and keep them saved on my boards.
Use it to make your Christmas lists.
Use it to bookmark good articles, interesting books, or helpful tips. I am always looking for tips on gardening, chickens, and preparedness.....and like to save any of this info when I find it.
But for the most part.....use the giant pinboard called YOUR BRAIN, and come up with your own ideas. Somehow our mothers (and their mothers and their mother's mothers) came up with brilliant ideas all on their own.
Try it--you might surprise yourself.

6. constantly updating your facebook/instagram
I am rarely on facebook anymore. I update my facebook blog page regularly and like to share interesting tidbits when I find them, but as far as my own personal page goes....I'm not really "there".  
I keep it because I have some great friends and family on there, and that's how they keep in touch. Anyway--I got on the other day and it was almost humorous to me because I forgot how facebook works. Every detail of so-and-so's day laid out for you right there.
I'm getting ready to eat lunch.
Peanut butter or ham?
I'm eating lunch! Peanut Butter! So good!
Sooooooooo full from lunch. Time to hit the gym.
Driving to the gym.....

You get the idea.

Why do we need to know all this information about so-and-so?
More importantly, why have we gotten so comfortable with sharing so much [useless] information with everyone. Social networks can be fun......but don't let them literally take over your life by feeling like you HAVE to update the world on your constant happenings. We don't need to know.

7. constantly checking your facebook/instagram 
Guess what? The world will go on if you miss a few of your friends/total strangers posts.
You don't need to glue your face to your phone and ignore the world around to see what everyone else in cyberland is up to. What about paying attention to what the people who are right in front of you are doing? Work on REAL relationships more than you work on cyber relationships.

and just because I can't leave a post without a picture......
here's a friendly reminder to get outside!
Let's all make a promise to waste less time online....ok? 
Use it for good! 
Exercise your brain--be creative and make your own decisions.
Pay attention to REAL life....and not so much life online. 
And please.....let's stop taking so many pictures of ourselves.

What would you add to the list?


Anonymous said...

Wow, thank you for such an insightful, genuine, and convicting post. Its very humbling to realize how self-indulgent most of the internet is and how easily I play into it. I think its wise to not write off ALL of the the internet but to redefine HOW we use it. It isn't bad in and of itself but we can choose to overindulge or we can chose to approach it with maturity.

Sara Zahn said...

Thank you! I have thought these very things many times and have found myself wanting to scream at the computer screen. Just a little bit ago as my small family climbed over the remnants of an abandoned mining town high in the mountains, I felt a surge in me to just abandon it all. I felt so free and happy (as I always do when we explore) that the idea of technology instantly weighed me down. The power of social media has begun to take away the powers of being human. People are so absorbed in the 2D world that they lose the ability to interact and enjoy the real world. Don't get me wrong, I love the internet, I just feel like I do about everything; Too much of anything is a bad thing, no matter how awesome it is.

Oh and I would add political ranting and the constant sharing of "facts" without research to your list. :)

Danielle said...

Love this. How about using hashtags to converse with eachother instead of real words. I feel like we are already communicating less since communication all goes online...and now even online communication is disappearing through the hashtag! Hashtags are a great source for grouping photos or topics...not for replacing sentences. Anyone agree?

Great great post. Thanks for the reminder.

Rebekah said...

Oh man, thank you for this! All of these thoughts have been circulating around in my head for months now. I thought if I heard one more, "on pinterest I saw..." I'd die, give me a break. When did it become so important to show off and/or be envious of everything someone else did? How many things can have chevron stripes?! When did just being human become a competition? What a joke. I love you Sheena, I'm glad we are still on the same level.

Sara said...

LOVE this! I've noticed that when I'm away camping or whatever, I always feel better not having the internet to cling to. If I don't check FB for a few days (OR WEEKS!) nobody is going to die.

Haley Southey said...

But I just love Pinterest so, so much! Hahahaha! :)

Anonymous said...

Yes and Amen! So reassuring to know that I am not alone in my feelings. I just love your blog and look forward to every post.

Kristin Hanson said...

I agree with everything, except Pinterest. As a graphic designer, I use pinterest daily to organize all the research I do for various projects. It's saved me a lot of time, having all my inspiration in one place. That said, there is a lot of time suck on there *cough*wedding boards*cough*

Sonja {Dagmars Kitchen} said...

What a great post!! May we never forget to LIVE. Live I.R.L. that is ;-)

sarah waggoner said...

thank you for the sweet reminder. i'm just about guilty of all of the above, not to the extreme that some people take it, but still guilty nonetheless. i have a younger brother who has grown up glued to the computer, and lately he's had the worst attitude, and will only communicate with the family by yelling and complaining, but he of course will have conversations and maybe even laugh a little with his online "friends". it's really unfortunate that the internet can take precedence over really living if one isn't too careful. thank you for your beautiful words. i needed to hear this today!

ashley sullivan said...

good one, sheena! yes to all.

Aysegul said...

Oh sooo true.
Every morning when I get up I tell myself "No Facebook" today. Then 2 hours later, I am like "let me just take a quick look". Next thing you know 30 minutes passed and I did not even realized.
What a waste of time...
We all need more discipline in our lives. Finding the balance is the key.
A hard one but a very necessary one.
Ahhh and PINTEREST..
Don't even get me started on that one. I feel like an addict when I am on Pinterest...
I feel like I want everything that I can not have.

I guess it is a working progress for every one of us every single day.


Christa K said...

Amen sista! You said it all! Especially love the selfie, "I'm taking a picture of my kids but really my outfit looks cute, therefore it's really a sexy pic of me and my boobs" statement. Soooooo true! COULD NOT AGREE WITH YOU MORE! So thanks for reminding me not to do that anymore. KIDDING! But really, disconnect with the Internet, to connect with the people around you!

capturingtheride said...

Thanks for this! It is so true and had me smirking when I read it. I sometimes get a little black and white (AHHH just delete me from all of it!) but I like that you didn't just say the internet is evil and you should throw your imac out the window. Or iphone. I like the idea of seeing some of these things as tools but being selective and carefully intentional about how you use them. There is something to be said about some quiet, solitude - and privacy. No one has to guess anymore. Anyway, the one thing I would add, is how much these things get (quite literally) in between or in the way of parents and children, friends, partners - everyone. It's amazing to be at the park and see moms plugged into their phones and totally oblivious to their children right in front of them. After being a Pinterest Hater for a long long time, I finally joined up so I could store some ideas for homeschooling and holidays etc. I think we all just need to constantly evaluate our motives for what we share with strangers, and the time we are truly spending "sucked in" to the internet activities. What would it look like if we made a daily log for a week and kept track of every time we checked email, pinned on pinterest, posted or scrolled instagram etc. It might surprise us. I am by no means perfect, but constantly strive to find an okay balance. I've started occasionally just leaving my phone behind when I know I am going somewhere I really want to be focused and present. If I get in a sticky situation, I know everyone around me has phones to call for help if I need it ;) Thanks always for the wonderful reminders and food for thought!

Bri said...

Great reminders Sheena! There is so much good out there on the internet, we just have to be choosy about the content we are reading and how much time we are spending browsing the web.

Sometimes I actually wish I took more selfies...well not selfies, just pictures with my kids. I have so very few pictures of me with my babies. I think women are generally one extreme or the other. They either take a ton of photos of themselves or there are none. I don't think there's anything wrong with getting in the photos with your kids but I know what you mean about the photos where it is clearly about the mom and NOT the kids.

And as for Pinterest, when I heard Ben speak at Alt. I really took to heart what he said. "Our mission is not to keep you online, but to get you offline. We want to inspire you to do what you love." I've found so much good in Pinterest. I meal plan each week using recipes I've pinned. As someone else mentioned, Pinterest has helped my graphic design business tremendously. Between my clients being able to pull together inspiration and myself, it's led to some really great projects. And I've used inspiration from lots of pretty things on there to turn them into my own ideas. Someone's necklace inspired me to create a mobile for Collier's room.

Again, I agree we have to become extremely selective about the content and our time, but I think it can be so valuable! Thanks for sharing your thoughts! said...

ha Im guilty of a few of these BUT such a good reminder!! Life isnt life unless you are living it and spending it with the REAL people right in front of you not on a screen :)

Unknown said...

so true! thank you for this post! i have to constantly unplug from social media so i don't get so dull! and being plugged in so much really wears one down! i agree on all points. thanks! wish everyone would take note.