Friday, June 3, 2011

Blah, Blah, Blah



I've scanned through my Twitter stream and news feeds one or more times most waking hours for the last couple of years. But recently, I've had such a big spike in professional and personal commitments that I've been lucky to to view them more than a few times a day. Surprisingly, I've found that instead of avidly reading and posting when time and attention permits, I've lost a lot of my interest.

I'm still not sure what's up with that, but I suspect it has something to do with immersion. Although the concept of immersion is usually applied to being fully engaged in a game or a virtual world, I think there's a similar phenomenon related to social networks.  When I was attending to a social network multiple times per hour on a daily basis, I experienced a psychological sense of being pervasively present and connected with the people in my stream. There was a strong pull to participate and be a tangible presence in the community.

Now that that my former state of immersion has been lost, sometimes it all seems like blah, blah, blah. That's the inspiration for this video.

5 comments:

Miso Susanowa said...

love the video.

I have looked at this problem many times. Part of it seems to me that intake, intake, intake all the time leaves very little time for reflecting, meditating, thinking and creative daydreaming... which of course doesn't feed the urge to communicate something... because all your mental/emotional/creative energy is caught up in keeping up.

michelehyacinth said...

Not to split hairs (or maybe I am), it seems for me at any rate more an issue of constant consumer-ism (consuming even social conversation) than immersion. What does reflection mean in a day and age of a conversation that runs 24/7? A tricky and fair question. Now, an apology for a shameless plug, I wrote a nanowrimo chapter on this (to the degree that I could articulate it) here if there's an interest in reading a rambling essay about the age of endless conversation sometimes rambling: http://michelehyacinth.wordpress.com/2011/02/02/waking-the-sleeping-integer-12/ ...

Botgirl Questi said...

Miso: I agree. And impossible to keep up because there's more content streaming into social sharing sites, bogs, newsfeeds, etc. every day than an individual could consume in a lifetime. YouTube alone has 35 hours of new video uploaded every minute. So no matter how much content we have instant access to, or how smart we filter things, human attentional bandwidth is maxed out. It's like the Buddhist metaphor of hungry ghosts with huge hungers and tiny mouths.

And that brings up the deeper question of what we're really hungry for.

Michele: I liked your ramble. My strategy for info-glut is not far from what you described . . . taking in the cacophony and letting my subconscious sort it out. I think that's one reason that my creative output is so all over the place.

But it's occurred to me recently that as much as I enjoy letting my spur-of-the-moment interest guide the way I use my uncommitted time, it needs to be channeled more consciously through the context of some greater purpose. And that instead of compulsively spitting out multiple little creative works each week, I should take up the challenge of some larger, deeper and more intentional work.

Dale Innis said...

I have to agree with this, and in general anything that turns out to be uninteresting once you spend a week away from it is probably a good candidate for seriously considering not returning to.

I used to Plurk quite a bit; haven't done it in months and don't miss it. I post something to Twitter and read the most recent page in my Twitter feed maybe, I dunno, twice every three days? Sometimes it leads to amusing things, but it's like examining snowflakes in detail: a couple of times a Winter is great, but you don't want to really get into it...

There are much more rewarding ways to keep up with and spend time with friends.

Botgirl Questi said...

Dale: The blessing and curse of Twitter for me is that I can get away with keeping up with it a few minutes at a time, as long as I check in a couple of times an hour. For twitter, I'm less concerned about time than the way it encourages my mind to keep grasping for new shiny information, and also the way I sometimes view experiences in terms of what I can share versus the intrinsic value of what I'm doing.