Saturday, February 6, 2010

Brave New World

I joined my writers' group because I wanted to write. Ideally a novel. I want to inspire others to see things from a different perspective, to open their minds to a different world.

I did not envision myself blogging. Certainly not on facebook. And I am still avoiding Twitter.

It's not only a question of snobbery, although I'll be the first to admit there is something of that in there. I'd like to write LITERATURE, not some easy-to-read, dumbed-down mini-thought of the day for people too superficial to pick up a book.

Karenne has dragged a whole slew of us into blogging, kicking and screaming the whole way. I can't call myself a blogger, and I still don't think it is my art-form, but my blog has gotten me to write. I don't know that I want to commit myself to the networking a serious blog requires to grow and reach a larger audience. In fact, I'm quite sure I don't. And I don't work on the technology or format enough to make my blog user friendly.

I just write. Which, for someone who wants to be a writer, isn't a bad thing. I figure once the writing becomes as second nature as breathing, then I can work on the outlets for it. For now, blogging is writing and writing is what it's all about.

This topic of new technology comes up quite often in our writers' group. "I don't want to have to answer all those emails." "I don't know that I have the time to commit to facebook." (Twitter. Sorry, I'm not sold on that level of brevity yet.)

My aversion to Twitter is similar to a friend's aversions to email or facebook. Does someone have to know what I am doing EVERY minute of the day? Do I need to check in and keep up with everyone all the time?

The answer, as I am fast discovering, is NO.

Most of us check into our facebook accounts sporadically. Some weeks you live on it, managing your pig farm and vegetable garden, and some weeks you don't tune in at all. Some emails, some facebook remarks, get answered right away and inspire you to write the next chapter of your novel. Others disappear unanswered into the realm of the forgotten email, maybe to surface again in two months, or never again.

This seems to be accepted and okay. facebook is a superficial window onto a bigger world. You can either connect into it and explore that cyber world deeper. Or you can ignore it and concentrate on your own life in the real world. The nice thing, and the thing you have to remember, is that you get to CHOOSE your level of involvement. The technology does not own you. (Unless you let it.)

We're that in-between generation that still feels responsible for answering every letter, returning every phone call. But that's not how facebook at least seems to work.

I use the Internet, and social networking, to inspire me to greater things.

You CAN choose to ignore them altogether, of course.

The problem is that as everyone else is beginning to use them to connect, you are going to miss out on some of the conversation.

It IS a brave, new world. One hundred years ago most homes didn't even have a telephone. Radios were still over a decade away. We now have information, and the ability to comment on it, at our fingertips.

I want to write. I need to gather information and ideas. I like to connect to people who encourage and inspire me.

One hundred years ago, most homes still didn't have a refrigerator or a washing machine. One hundred years ago I would have been too busy feeding and clothing the kids to become the person I can become today.

Ignoring the Internet, and social networking, today, is like washing your clothes on rocks down by the river. You can do it, but you're wasting a lot of time and energy ignoring something that really can make your life better.

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