19 December 2013

Writing on the internet about disliking the internet

I don't know when it happened, but I got burned out with all things internet. I don't want to read blogs and I don't want to write mine. The whole digital world feels stale. It's been weeks since I looked at Twitter on a daily basis, and keeping up with Feedly feels like a bad assignment.

Ever since I was a kid, I've engaged with people on the computer more often and more thoroughly than I have with real people. Maybe I like computerized people better. They are less messy and they don't have bad breath.

When I was a pre-teen in 1987, I wooed my first boyfriend via late night modem chats. We'd write live love letters one green character at a time. While other kids were playing soccer and watching too much tv, I was creating a virtual persona on Compuserv named Heather. I made "friends" with geeky guys who sent me mix tapes and stuffed animals via snail mail. I secretly felt guilty about using a fake name and pretending to be five years older than I was. Fortunately nothing weird happened. Unless you count having more virtual friends than real ones weird.

In college in the mid-90s, I chatted via Unix "talk" with my real life boyfriend who sat across the table from me in the lab. We should have spent more time actually speaking to each other. Or maybe that relationship was better in the virtual world than the real one. 

In 1999 I started a weblog called portiastar.com. I wrote self indulgent crap, campaigned for more readers by posting comments everywhere, and completely ignored my real life and the real people in it.

When social media became a thing, I eschewed it at first. MySpace and Facebook seemed lame, but then I caved to the peer pressure of LinkedIn and the pithy romance of Twitter. I tried tumblr and Dailymile and Goodreads and lots of others I'm forgetting about.

Recently I started wondering what would happen if I took all that time I spend on this internet crap and spent it on something else, something more fulfilling. Something creative that added up to something I was proud of. I'm not particularly proud of this blog. I am not sure anyone does or should care about my weekly mileage or my MS symptoms. I set out to inspire people, and hopefully I've done a bit of that, but at this point I'm not feeling inspirational. Don't get me wrong, life is good. I just need to change how I'm living it a little bit.

In 2014, I'm going to spend my time deliberately and focus on my real life. I'll stop blogging, maybe altogether or maybe I'll only write when I have something to say, which will probably be rare. I'll record my running in a paper notebook instead of on Dailymile. I'll probably stop using Twitter and Feedly, or at least change the way I engage with them - I still haven't figured that out yet. I'll read more and get back to writing in my paper journal and maybe I'll even write some poetry. You get the idea.

Maybe I'll keep up with this experiment all year, or maybe I'll miss the internet in a month or two and come crawling back. Regardless, I think you'll get on without me. I won't actually crawl under a rock. I'll still use email, but I'll use it to supplement my real interactions with actual people. You know, the messy ones with bad breath. Just like me.

I'll turn this typepad blog off soon, but I've archived  everything at my old blogspot space: runportiarun.blogspot.com. If I show up again, it'll be there. 

See you on the other side.

PS. It's not just me. Other people are saying the blog is dead

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