Wednesday, December 31, 2014

If you are into New Year's resolutions

Then maybe you should consider this one
A 2012 Harvard University research study revealed that sharing personal information about ourselves is an intrinsically rewarding activity targeting the ‘nucleas accumbens’ area of the brain. This is the very same region of the brain that lights up when cocaine or other illicit drugs are digested. In a separate report, The University of Chicago determined that social media cravings rank higher, and are harder to resist than nicotine cravings. “If you look at people in a restaurant, nobody is having conversations anymore. They’re sitting at dinner looking at their phones because their brains are so addicted to it.” And why? Because we are both bent toward narcissism and bored with reality. ‘Like’ me, notice me, help me escape the here and now. The constant contact from status updates, ‘favorites’, re-tweets, and ‘likes’ attempts to fill the vacuum in our soul. But in reality, we are more isolated, alone and distracted than ever before. “This media we call social is anything but.”
<idle musing>
They also note that "The average American spends over 11 hours a day online, three of those hours spent on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram." Eleven hours! When do they get anything else done?

It makes me wonder how they define "online." Does being online include being connected while doing other work? If that is the case, then I can understand it, but I would dispute the definition "online" in that case.

For example, while I am editing, I usually have a few windows open in my browser for checking bibliographical references—WorldCat, JSTOR, Google books, etc. I also have e-mail on, but don't check it unless I'm expecting an answer to a question. If I subscribed to Chicago Manual of Style or Merriam-Webster, then those would be open, too; currently I use the hard copy version of those (I really do prefer physical books).

All those thoughts aside, maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea to examine how we use our time. Maybe the Holy Spirit is prompting some of us to cut out at least some of our time surfing, browsing, tweeting, Facebooking, or posting pictures. Maybe God really is interested in who we really are instead of whom we want people to think we are. Maybe. Actually, that last one isn't a maybe. Maybe instead he's calling some of us to be more honest about who we are while we are online...I actually think that might even be harder, as it calls us to be honest with ourselves first.
</idle musing>

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