Online, I’m doing too much

The Real Prayers Are Not the Words,
But the Attention that Comes First

The little hawk leaned sideways and, tilted,
rode the wind. Its eye at this distance looked
like green glass; its feet were the color
of butter. Speed, obviously, was joy. But
then, so was the sudden, slow circle it carved
into the slightly silvery air, and the
squaring of its shoulders, and the pulling into
itself the sharp-edged wings, and the
falling into the grass where it tussled a moment,
like a bundle of brown leaves, and then, again,
lifted itself into the air, that butter-color
clenched in order to hold a small, still
body, and it flew off as my mind sang out oh
all that loose, blue rink of sky, where does
it go to, and why?

Mary Oliver


I’m spending too much time online.

And I’ve said this before.

It’s not healthy. Not in the sense that it’s ruining my health but it’s a distraction from how I know my life should or ought to be.

Take something like reading. If you were to ask me which one I’d prefer, namely to share material on Twitter, Tumblr or Instagram or read a good book (poetry, better still) then you can already guess the answer.

I accept that the tone of that statement might make me sound as if I’m above or better than the platforms I inhabit but my rationale for staying connected etc. is very different now to when I first took the plunge in 2009. Also, it’s too fragmentary, meaning it breaks up my focus and concentration which militates against me doing my best work — be that writing or any of the other pursuits I keep talking about.

And there’s the sense of always having to be online to ensure, or so it seems, I’m not missing out on something. This is a chimaera and one that, sadly, has drawn me in too many times.

What does this mean going forward?

Well, not that I’ve given it a lot of thought but the shape of it is something like this:

  • I will blog once a week and share the link on Twitter either on a Monday or Wednesday;
  • I will no longer share any quotes on Twitter, Instagram or Tumblr;
  • If I do Tweet, and I may not do much for several days at a time, it will be when I think I’ve got something to say and not in reaction to someone else’s Tweet;
  • I will scale back all my shares on Instagram and Tumblr and will, much like Twitter, only share when I think I need to do so; and
  • I aim to take regular periods offline and will indicate when I do so (yesterday is a case in point — and it wasn’t for work reasons but simply to experiment with what it might feel like).

If this means losing a bushel of followers then so be it. I’m not being dismissive or nonchalant in making that statement but I understand that you might want more action or you think that what I’m about isn’t worth powder and shot. Truth is, what I do from now on is for me and no one else. As I’ve said before, particularly with regards my blog, it always surprises me, in a nice way, why anyone would want to read my material; and as for leaving a comment or Tweeting, well, I feel blessed and am genuinely touched.

In time, and the jury’s still out on this point, I’m likely to go even further and other than my blog, which I won’t share on Twitter, I’ll cease all online activity. If anything, this is in preparedness for my pilgrimage which I’ve previously mentioned.

To those people I’ve connected with online I’d love one day to meet as many of you as possible but with the pandemic still among us that may have to wait a while yet.

Take care,

Julian

Photo by Nico Frey on Unsplash

rodinajeni@mailxu.com