I started writing this post feeling down. That’s the last part of this post, a bit pathetic.
Like many, I’ve developed an online attention disorder. My attention span online is 140 seconds and I don’t even have the patience to convert that into minutes.
It’s no surprise that my attention span has reduced so dramatically. It’s the nature of the forums. On MySpace, you were urged to create a personal(ized) profile where you described not only yourself but also your favourite books, foods, and all other kinds of generic and boring information about yourself. Dutifully, I let my friends (they were still friends then rather than fans or followers) know what MySpace thought they might want to know.
When Facebook arrived I was slightly lazier. I copied and pasted my MySpace persona into the new platform. After all, I’d put in all that ‘effort’ into describing myself! After some months, I deleted it.
Come twitter, and I’ve managed to squeeze my essence into 140 characters. And I quite like the briefness, why complicate matters.
I can’t pinpoint why I feel down as write this. I’ll try to in a sec though. Whenever I feel this way, I wonder if other people do too. By ‘this way’, I’m not referring to wanting to slit my wrists and call it a day, and I feel awful saying that with a snobbish tone, as some people do feel that way and I can only hope that they may find some reason to keep going, for me ‘this way’ is a feeling of lethargy. One that translates in my carrying out daily tasks with absolutely no passion whatsoever. When I feel lethargic like this, what tends to happen is that I order pizza, and end up reading in bed for hours, which I would do today if I hadn’t over committed myself to work.
I am reading Neighbours, the story of a murder by Lilia Momple for my book club. My book club is a collaboration between Penguin Books and Catch A Vibe, one of my fave London blogs, and we are reading the African classics.
I am determined not to let my online attention disorder make me a bad reader, so I go into a meditative state when I read, shutting off the outside world and putting my BB and laptop away. I am doing quite well at this whole relearning to read thing, well, now that I’ve accepted that I have to relearn something I learnt at four.
Anyway back to my being down, which by the way, I’m not always. If you don’t believe that I’m not a down kinda person always, then here’s proof of me looking happy – see, happy?
By the way why do we humans have the need to prove that we are happy, when ultimately we all are in search of happiness? Isn’t that what life’s about? Searching. For. Happiness.
(note – read the following sentence with caution, it might give you a head ache)
That said, I am happy because I am happiest searching for happiness, which I am constantly doing. It’s the journey, not the destination that is important. Happiness is a culmination of learning that reaches the sub-conscious and becomes a truth. Finding answers is great too, one of the answers I’ve found whilst searching for happiness is that happiness to me means that sometimes-i’m-blue-and-that’s-OK-too.
If you clicked on the blue link you’ll see one of my poems. That’s one of the things I do to search for happiness – I write poetry. I’ve started posting some of it on my tumblog, instead of here. If you prefer to read professional poetry lol, then you MUST visit Blackbird. For happy thoughts, check out the positivity blog.
I guess instead of trying to pinpoint why I am down, I’ve pinpointed one element of what makes me happy, cool aye 🙂
Oh, and if you liked my outfit in that happy picture of me, then you might like the Afro-inspired style in the MsAfropoplitan Boutique, where I sell products made by African diaspora women. If you didn’t like my outfit, which is of course a (mistake) possibility, well you might still enjoy a quick browse.
Has the immediacy of social media and online connecting made you become restless with longer tasks? Any examples?
This was a great post my dear. you began at one point and ended at another. during the course of just writing this post you touched on something that always resonates with me – “the journey”. Life is so much bigger than we are. realizing ….nah… accepting that we’re not always going to be happy and that it’s okay to feel blue is part of that process.
as far as the attention span goes, i too have been turned into a “gotta have it right now” bandit because of the speed at which we’re able to give, find, and receive information via the internet.
i can’t be made, though. my world is so much bigger now. i dreaming of endless possibilities again.
Thanks lady 🙂 I had these thoughts on my mind, about the journey, balance, and acceptance of what life is…and somehow i’ve ended up with an insightful day.
Internet and social media at present are driven to great extent by values such as collaboration, conversation, information, immediacy and empowerment. I can’t be mad at that either, it opens a new door to humanity!
my last few sentences are one huge typo…lol! It should read:
i can’t be mad, though. my world is so much bigger now. i’m dreaming of endless possibilities again.
annie q. syed says
lovely to stop by here.
very nice post and links to other parts of you… enjoyed that….
can’t believe i read this post 3 hours ago and this page has been open since to comment and i haven’t been able to!
i don’t think there is an “immediacy for social media” per se….but our inability to decipher what is and isn’t important to us. the more you know what you like, the more narrow you become with your focus and energy.
so although there are so many blogs out there, after awhile i narrowed down that having some favorite ones on the sidebar widget was no longer enough, given i didn’t really navigate to them via my own website. so i made a special list on twitter for it. that way, even if i miss a tweet, i know this is someone’s blog i will make time for.
moreover, there is an undercurrent to all ‘content’ that is available as soon as you open the post link. maybe it is me and i just see energy everywhere and so can tell. but i have unfollowed a lot—a lot—of people on twitter (writers included, not just “social media” folks) whose ‘undercurrent’ made me feel like i am rushing for no damn reason! Like your tweets are coming in 1 every second and they are all fluff or links to your articles are just a burp of words! This is not a reflection of their POTENTIAL but their current choice or unawareness.
anyway, so since i have been more intune with “where” i like to go and when, the less rushed i feel.
as far as reading off line content, yes, it has had an effect on me: shit better be good. whatever attention span issues i had PRIOR to online are even more highlighted now. so, if i am can’t get into a short story or article by the end of 1st page, i am done with it. in some ways, it has made my standards even higher, if that makes sense.
our neurons are constantly cross-firing and growing when we learn and are curious or problem solving or thinking etc. so in some ways, social media stuff pushes us to evolve.
just some thoughts.
thanks for stopping by annie!
I agree, it’s great that the forums push us to define who we are almost, and what is important to us.
nowadays when i read off line content, even when it’s good, i have to pay more attention, but i don’t mind this, because it makes me a hyper-aware reader, i’ve started to consume printed words preciously. this has made me go further into the mind of the storyteller, because I was dismissing way too many books after chapter1. lol. was why i meant i’m ‘relearning’ to read the way i used to, more patiently.
do you use google reader? i get my feeds from those blogs that I know I want to read and i love it.
I think I am often overwhelmed by the amount of information that is available online, and the degree of access I have to it. I find that I read less in print, and more online. At least I am reading, but, I need to re-socialize myself to actually holding a book more frequently.
As far as being down: I am often so cheerful and upbeat, that I remind people of a sick puppy when I am sad and down. LOL! I have my down times like everyone else, and, I think that it shocks people because it is such a deviation from the norm for me.
Well, cheer up! I hope each of us who reads and responds will lift your spirits. 🙂
Joy-Mari Cloete says
I can’t read long, in-depth articles (New York Review of Books type of articles)… It pains me. My reading speed is also slower than ever before but I blame old age for that 🙁
And hey, feeling down is perfectly OK. I also feel down quite often. It just means we really appreciate those times when we wonder who’s going to be our Vice President of the Universe when we’re in one of our ‘take over the world’ moods.
“who’s going to be our Vice President of the Universe when we’re in one of our ‘take over the world’ moods” – Love it! hell yeah those are the absolute high’s of life that make every downbeat day worth it’s weight in gold
Joy-Mari Cloete says
Jeepers. Only *now* got your reference to ‘140 seconds’ It’s been a slow day… 😉
You have to go through pain to understand and respect the good. Its the yin and the yang of life. I always look at pain as an opportunity for something bigger. You just have to yield it into something positive. I understand that is easier said than done but that is the balance of life. We have to add those beans of positivity to our scale to right our spirit and inner balance
isn’t it wonderful when you are feeling down, and then you have a moment of appreciation for it? that’s when you know an opportunity for something bigger is lurking around..