The Exchange - An Assassin of Time
An Assassin of Time: What I’ve Been Doing Lately and What the Internet Really Means –
Recently I’ve been taking a Sabbatical of sorts from the Internet in general and blogging in particular. This is for personal, professional, and religious reasons. And I’ve come to several conclusions because of this.
1. I can’t live on the Internet. Nor do I have any reason to do so. Or any desire to do so. For most of the previous six or seven months on this blog, and elsewhere on my other sites, I’ve tried to maintain an almost daily presence which has from time to time brought a number of readers here. But I’ve really no desire to maintain a daily presence on this blog merely to obtain a high number of readers. I simply don’t care either about that fact (number of readers), or enough about the Internet in general to give a flying crap about maintaining a daily presence. Readership as a motivation of publishing on the Internet is highly suspect to me anyway. I was talked into blogging by friends of mine who suggested I would make a good blogger and that my blog would be of interest. That may or may not be true, and I am grateful and flattered by their support, but over these months I’ve come to realize some far more important things than the fact that I may be a good blogger:
A. The Public Internet is simply not that big a deal. (When I use the term Internet below I mean to refer to the Public Internet.) Nor is it usually profitable either as a means of expressing general ideas and matters of public or private interest for me to devote that much time to it. As a business method it is sometimes superb, as a communications means it is at times extremely interesting, as a research tool it can be useful, as a method of transmitting covert information it is unique and even highly successful if approached in the right way, but generally speaking it is nothing more than one billion people (seemingly anyway) regurgitating their particular interpretation or opinion of the same events and ideas everyone else has already previously debated in an almost endless fashion. There is nothing wrong with that in and of itself, as opinions can sometimes even be valuable, or in far rarer instances even worth hearing. But the Internet is simply not important enough for me to care to devote large blocs of my personal and professional time to it. I recently ran a calculation and discovered that if I spent one hour per day on the Internet that hour would be approximately worth three hours of normal work (if focused) and lost project productivity. Therefore I have come to the conclusion that the time I devote to the internet is primarily a drag on my productivity and to ventures, experiments, projects, cases, work, and writings that could be far more profitably pursued in the real world. Oh, and in case anyone bothers to investigate the matter the Internet is not the Real World, theoretical speculation to the contrary.
B. I must budget my time to the Internet as I would any other venture and consider the risk to reward and work to gain ratios. In that respect the Internet sucks as a return on time invested. It always has sucked in that respect and I expect that to continue indefinitely. Now occasionally it is profitable as a means for pursuing business and other ventures that do lead to reward of some kind, or maybe even some kind of profit in particular, but this is not normally the case, and certainly not the case with a personal or personal interest blog. In that respect it is nothing more, or less, than a message board, a form of entertainment and diversion. An enjoyable pass-time if you have the time to pass. Most of the time I do not and am engaged in far more important things than to either desire or feel the need to spend the primary focus of my time and efforts on the internet. My advice to myself is stop being here unless I have the time to kill, have some real objective to achieve, or can budget the spare time, and instead spend every other moment in the real world and accomplish real objectives, do not kill your time in a Virtual World achieving Virtual Objectives which even if achieved tend to be meaningless and pointless anyway. No one ever became famous, much less achieved anything worthwhile, based on the amount of time devoted to the Internet. There is no Shakespeare of the Internet, no Einstein of the Internet, no Da Vinci of the Internet, and no Apostles of the Internet. Well, I’m sure there are Apostles of the Internet but not the kind that ever amount to much, historically speaking. If something is to be achieved and recorded for history as having any real importance at all then it must be really important, meaning it must be real. My advice to the person reading this is exactly the same. Get off this damned network, go into the real world, and do something real, and therefore possibly even really important. The Internet is not really important in most respects, nor is it really producing anything substantially important, or vital. It is a technological version (95% of it is anyway) of an old fashioned Party-Line. It is a barbershop yak-fest and a gossip parlor, and an opinion salon, but very little more. It could be much more and may one day be much more but for now it is simply a virtual substitute for life and an excuse to not-live in a real way.
What therefore will I be doing about this having realized these things over the past few months?
1. I have rearranged my schedule to allow me to blog and use the Internet for research with a modest use of time during the week. Other than that I won’t be using the Internet except for communications or to assist with business ventures, personal or professional projects, experiments, and for work and networking. I won’t be blogging or using the Internet just to hear myself talk or just to blog for the sake of blogging or to kill time.
2. The content I put on this site, or on any of my other sites must be of as high a quality as I can create or I won’t bother. Won’t even feel slightly motivated. I won’t do it if I don’t care, or don’t find it enjoyable, important, or beneficially experimental in some way.
3. The Internet will not become another form of work for me. It is profitless in that respect and not very important anyway. My real work (not to mention the other things I do in life) is far too important for the Internet to become some kind of substitute work bleeding off time and resources I could employ in another and far more productive and profitable way. The Internet will assist me with my work or objectives, but it is not important enough to be work or valuable enough to be an objective in and of itself. The Internet should be a Map of Human Achievement, and not merely a Forum of Endless Speech about nothing much at all.
4. The Internet will not become a substitute personal friendship network for me. Yes, I am the first to admit that the internet is a very useful technological tool for allowing me to communicate with and keep in touch with family, with friends (both old and new) in distant corners of the world, deployed friends, foreign friends, and others with whom I could not communicate easily or often. The Internet also allows me to communicate with individuals I often find interesting and stimulating, or even to communicate with potential new clients, associates, informants and even old comrades with whom I have shared danger, adventure and history. But it is no substitute at all for real friends, or personal networks, or real people. No part of any artificially virtual life is in any way a substitute for, or nearly as productive as, a real life. I have come to realize that the internet, as a social and personal network is really little more than a talk center for young people who have no real responsibilities and no real work to do to speak of and therefore it is simply a technological version of the shopping mall and local meeting place. It’s not always that way of course, but usually that’s about the size of it.
The Internet therefore is really a sort of modern and on occasion even a sort of mortal (in the true sense of the word) danger. It deludes people into thinking that they have achieved something of value by the simple fact of employing it, just as some people are deluded into the fact that just by watching television they have been profitably entertained.
It is a danger I have recognized for what it is, and so I intend in the future to make use of it much as I would a rattlesnake. I’m not gonna spend a whole lot of my time poking around with it just for the sake of curiosity, when I do use it I’ll milk her for all she is worth, but I won’t in any way confuse the poison I pull out of her fangs for cream with which to flavor my coffee.
Like all modern technologies the Internet can be used for good, or ill, but if used to excess, and most people who use her do use her to excess, then her assets become merely new liabilities and very quickly you come to realize that she is exactly what she most appears to be - an assassin of time.
Now if you ladies and germs will excuse me I’m gonna go grab a beer, and then I have better things to do with my time.
© JWG, Jr. 2007
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