Sunday, 12 May 2013
Surely It Can't Be Much Further...
The internet is a big, dangerous, deadly, deceptive jerk.
When you pick up a book you can look at how big it is, how thick it is, the size of the font, the number of chapters.
You can see how far you've gotten and how far there is to go.
You can know when you might as well push on because it's only x amount more pages or chapters and when you should call it a day because you need your face not to be sliding off your skull when you roll in to work the next day.
The internet isn't like that.
The internet is misleading.
And if you're pootling along reading through someone's blog or tumblr or open a certain amount of tabs and decide that you're going to get through them before you do this other thing you're supposed to do.
It's not a useful plan.
It's the 'I'll just eat all the chips/ice-cream/other foodstuff now so that they won't be tempting/distracting me later' plan of digital browsing.
Especially as a lot of blogging platforms don't show you how many pages there are or present their archive information accurately so you may be 500 pages deep into someone's tumblr and have no idea that they have over 2000 pages of stuff that they're adding to every day.
Some folk reblog and post like it's a competitive sport and they're going for gold.
Either because they are teenagers who both have the time and the burning enthusiasm to curate a bunch of stuff, or they're creative and can't stop, or they like to share or they've been doing this for a while or... Well you get the point.
This is far from the first time I've become ensnared in a 'must read the archive' or 'just one more page' whirlpool, I know that subconsciously I recognise the warning signs but there are just so many stories to read, so many pictures to see, so much sass - lovely lovely sass - to revel in that I somehow sail right past them and into the building storm.
In this metaphor my laptop and my phone are little boats, the internet is the ocean and my inability to turn the damn things off or put them down are the dark clouds gathering on the horizon.
On the positive side the 'episodes' are getting milder, I'm not getting quite so caught up for so long and I'm not putting aside things I need to do* in order to read something I find more interesting than real life.
It's the temptation of short-term reward that sucks you in.
Short-term reward saunters up behind long-term goals, belts them over their collective bonces, takes their wallets, and runs cackling off into the night.
The 'yes I'll be cross at myself later if I go back to sleep now BUT it's not later yet and my bed is warm now' reflex is strong with this one.
And if you're reading short stories or looking at great art, or ending up in a never-ending spiral of 'you may also enjoy...' TED Talk or article recommendations, you get the lovely lovely pay off of the story wrapping up or the article or video educating you or the art blowing your mind without having to put much effort in yourself.
Yes, you are reading or watching or looking at the thing but you didn't have to produce it, you didn't have to sit yourself down and put the effort in.
I am getting better but I will be honest, I am still pretty easy to ensnare.
At this point I'm just looking to achieve a better balance and to let long-term goals steer a bit more often as short-term reward has had a good long go at the wheel and probably need to calm down and take a step back.
*With work, or responsibilities that dictate how my life runs