Hot on the heels (oops, nearly typed 'hells!' ) of my post on Procrastination and them pesky widgets, comes Ian's reflections on Slate's assertion that opting out of Facebook and other social networks could prove detrimental to one's reputation.
This is a topic to which I've not given much thought, to be honest. My age and situation at present relieves me of much of the pressure to see and be seen; nevertheless I'm very much aware that whatever I post once out there, stays out there. It's a small world, even in cyberspace and I'd hope that if anybody who knows me does stumble upon my inane ramblings, said ramblings will reflect positively on me. To misquote the judge at the Lady Chatterley trial: " Is this something you would want your husband/children/friends/fellow tertiaries/church members to read?"
I agree about the overwhelmingness of it all and an introvert's need to maintain their own personal space. Paradoxical, isn't it? Social media and the internet is such a boon for those of us who need time to reflect before we 'speak,' who draw strength from our own inner world and who find overmuch interaction with others draining. We can gather our thoughts rather than be 'put on the spot,' reflect on what we really want to say. And oh the wonder of being able to explore new horizons, ideas, people that we'd simply never have the chance to encounter otherwise. Yet 'online,' as 'offline,' I know I can quite easily go into overload and have to pull out.
Funnily enough, my shyness and the behaviour patterns associated with that also show up on line. I'm definitely still in the cyber-kitchen at parties.
Any solutions? Well, being a Franciscan tertiary with an intentional way ('rule') of life, including a focus on simplicity, helps. I have a mobile, not a smartphone and choose not to give out my number to all and sundry. Folk know that my landline is the best way of contacting me. So don't e-mail me to change arrangements once I've left home because I'll not get it. I kinda regret not tweeting; I do feel out of the loop sometimes, especially at places like Greenbelt, but heigh-ho, you can't have it all.
And lastly...(phew!) and I'm preaching to myself here - intentionality in how you contribute online is part of the simplicity rather than drift. Plan that blog post; on Facebook - let's visit that new spirituality group today, make yourself comment, (just one will do); leave those endless news updates for now, they'll still be there tomorrow....and the next day. Oh, and is there anything you've learned online today that you could take offline or vice versa, an idea for a new project, something with which to encourage others? Why not drop them an e-mail, a letter, a phone call, even (gasp!) ask them out for a drink or a cuppa?
What do readers think?
Now I just know I'm going to regret clicking 'publish' here... :)