It’s true that my output on all internet fronts has slowed waaaay down. I’m blogging less, podcasting less, tweeting not at all. For a long stretch of time that bothered me greatly because it seemed like I was letting down the team in some way, or failing to correctly promote my “personal brand” or all sorts of other vague dreads of underplaying my hand. In truth, I feel better about life in general lately. I don’t know if this correlation is causation, but worrying less about doing things at the bogus pace of “internet time” means that I don’t have the constant heartbeat of the next refresh interval driving my attention. It’s peaceful. In a very real way, turning off a lot of those inputs and worrying less about my output feels like a long term vacation.
I never intend to close doors with any of these pronouncements because reality on the ground may change, but I sense this may become more like the long-term sustainable way I approach online life. I may blog every day for a week and then not for a day or week or month. I may do a few podcasts in a row and then drift off for a while. I may return to being a tweet machine, or I might never do it again. If the question is “Did you see that thing on Facebook”, regardless of the thing the answer has a greater than 99% chance of being “No.”
Of course, in less than a month you mix a newborn baby into this and life gets even shakier. I know plenty of people have kids and a digital life and the two mesh happily. I’m predicting that in our lives since we are older new parents that it will take a lot out of us. I might blip out for most of the late winter and early spring. If so, you can safely assume I’m happy as a clam and probably covered in some form of bodily fluid.
One of the upsides of pulling back from digital life is that it allows me to double down on corporeal life. In the last few months I’ve done more fun stuff in person than many years, and it keeps on going. You can trust that if I’m in the room with you, I’m not checking a smart phone. When I’m present, I’m trying to be actually present rather than this vaguely distracted weird attention that everyone pays nowadays.
So, that’s where I’m at this time, right before XMas 2010. I remain a ghost in the machine on the internet but I’m around. Give me a call, write me a letter, invite me to lunch, set up a play date. I’m 17 years into this internet thing and still working out how to do it correctly, but I feel like I’m getting there.
Happy holidays to all. May you find exactly the level of peace that you need.