Time had a great article two weeks ago called The Hyperconnected. Check it out. This is the final paragraph of the article:
“Like any good pusher, services like Twitter don’t answer existing needs; they create new ones and then fill them. They come to us wrapped in the rhetoric of interpersonal connection, creating a sense that our loved ones, or at least liked or tolerated ones, are electronically present to us, however far away they may be. But I can’t help wondering if we’re underestimating the countervailing effect: the cost we’re paying in our disconnection from our immediate surroundings, in our dependence on a continuous flow of electronic attention to prop up our egos, and above all, in a rising inability to be alone with our own thoughts–with that priceless stream of analog data that comes not from without but from within.”
It was interesting to read after I had just signed up for Twitter last week. I didn’t get Twitter at first, couldn’t figure out why there are some who would want to know where I am and what I’m doing all the time. I still don’t get Twitter (which is probably why I deleted my account yesterday).
Am I hyperconnected? For those of you who know me, that’s probably a pretty easy answer. It started with email and chatting in AOL chat rooms in high school. In college it was all about AIM and reading websites. Now it’s SMSing, blogs, Flickr, MySpace, Virb, Facebook, Twitter…how many different sites do I need to have “friends” at? I can even get “friends” on Flickr. There is something addicting about all of these social networking sites – the ability to be “connected” to all sorts of people from our past that we have not been connected to in a very long time. Yet, surprisingly, many of us were leading very satisfying lives before being connected to all these people from our past.
I think the above paragraph from Time’s article is right on – these sites are creating services for us to consume. I don’t need Twitter – but as soon as I had it, I felt the pressure to be updating it often, so that people would know what I was up to. Who cares what I’m up to? There are only a few people in my life who are interested in my comings and goings to the degree that I was feeling the need to share with anyone else in the world who would read them.
Anyway – it’s a good question to ask. I’m sure that by deleting my Virb, Twitter and MySpace accounts (which I did yesterday, following Josh’s lead), I won’t have freed myself of my hyperconnectivity. I still blog, text message, use Facebook, chat and communicate in a variety of other ways through the internet. I know I could still work on managing a more ‘happy medium’ in these areas of my life. It seems to be a little more difficult when I’m working on web & graphic design stuff for my business, but I can’t use that as an excuse.
Anyway, sorry if you really felt like we had connected over at MySpace or Virb or if you missed my up-to-the-minute-updates on Twitter, but…I think you’ll survive. I’m pretty sure I will too.