Mindful Monday, July 20, 2020

Mindful Monday, July 20, 2020

We are living in a technological world…and I’m not sure I’m a technological girl. For your viewing/listening pleasure, find “Material World” by Madonna at the end of this post.

Photo by Shelley Burbank

Today, I’m thinking about Slow Media and about the pros and cons of technology in general. 

There’s been chatter lately about a “cashless society” where we can only make purchases using apps and cards. News of a shocking data breach comes to our attention (more on this later), and we discover our information may have been sold or given away to unknown entities. We hear of a new app or service and want to participate, even though we know it means, sigh, yet another password and yet another AI system tracking, analyzing, using, or even selling our preferences, shopping habits, interests, and reads/views. 

Maybe we complain a bit about how technology encroaches on our lives, but we go along with it because living in the world requires engaging in current norms to some extent. To reject these technologies would to chose a “meager” existence outside of current society–especially now–because part of society is now smack-dab in the virtual world.

How many hours a day do we spend in online spaces? 

Some people resist, but if you are still dependent on a paycheck in order to live, it is almost impossible. Even those who are retired or independently wealthy find themselves a bit isolated if they chose not to join the social media platforms that we’ve attached to ourselves like cyber appendages. (I read somewhere that we humans have become somewhat like cyborgs!)

When family and friends spend hours in the Virtual, there’s less time for them to engage with us In Real Life.

My desire to be a professional who makes a living from my writing dashes any fantasies I have about turning off the computer, the television, the smart phone. I’ve been dragged–sometimes against my better judgement–onto platforms I’d just as soon ignore. Despite my reservations, one platform has become my primary publishing hub.  In an effort to create my own authentic platform, I’ve created this ShelleyBurbank.com website. 

However, I’ve had difficulty getting many acquaintances and family members to look for me here, because, honestly? They just don’t care all that much. Ok, they’ll scroll through and “like” a social media post, but that’s not real engagement, is it? 

I’ve come to understand that if they don’t care to find me here, they probably don’t care that much there, either.

We are all just fooling ourselves that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like are anything other than magic mirrors on the wall, reflecting back to ourselves what we want to be and say. In other words, maybe we’re all putting ourselves out there into virtual world for our egos’ sake. The people who are truly interested will find ways to connect with me. Why would I want to connect with anyone who isn’t truly interested, anyway?

This is a very freeing concept!

Still, I’m a bit dependent in spite of myself. And with that dependency comes problems.

My major writing platform sent out a press release today about a “possible” data breach. The story was reported on a couple of techy sites first, the kind of sites that research the hacker spaces and other dark web sites (I can’t even pretend to understand what these are, really, or who operates there). All I know is that now “some” users’ names, passwords, and birthdays–at the very least–are out in the world being traded and sold and passed around for nefarious purposes. It didn’t help that the company didn’t inform users of this breach when it happened. Or that it is downplaying the serious loss of trust and security my readers and followers may be experiences today because I invited them to join me on the site. 

So, I’m angry. Instead of writing today, I’m changing passwords. I’m looking up information. I’m checking to see what’s been investigated and what has been done. And I’m writing about it here. 

What’s the Mindful Monday takeaway? 

For me, I may be reaching a breaking point, and I don’t think I’m alone, when it comes to technology. I’m tempted to investigate and consider the Slow Media movement, where content is well-researched, thoughtfully-constructed, mindfully-released into the world. This is the antidote to multiple-tweets-per-day, four to six books per year, daily blogging (and I JUST got myself started on a three-per-week blog schedule, too. Ugh!) treadmill we’ve voluntarily placed ourselves upon. 

Would it be so horrible to take the time to write one really good novel per year? Is it lazy to reduce down to one social media platform? Or, if we stay on multiple platforms, being very select and thoughtful about when and what to post? 

Perhaps the way forward will look a bit more like stepping back. 

Here is a link to “The Slow Media Manifesto” that I will be pondering today. This concept fits like a puzzle piece into my other desired ways of being, namely sustainability, localism, simplicity, and refinement. There’s a lot to consider here. I hope you find it as compelling as I do.  

Refinement is the process of removing unwanted elements or impurities. Have you refined any aspect of your life recently or in the more distant past? How did it impact your life? I love comments. I comment back. 

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Here is what I’ve learned to accept- and it has taken me way longer than it should have. Relationships are a two way street. It is take and give. I have learned to let go of those people who aren’t trying to even meet me a little bit of the way. So, I no longer stress about those relationships- I let them go. I realize that those friends at work are just that- friends at work. If they want to hang out after work- they know how to reach me. And it’s harder and harder it seems to find friends that want to do things or hang out outside of social media. And you know, I’ve become okay with that too. I’ve reconnected with old friends- I think it’s really true- old friends are the best!

    1. Yes, Mary Ann. So true. I have good friends that are fairly new. I have a FEW good friends that are old. People I thought I’d be close with forever have drifted away because of growing in different directions and we just don’t have anything in common anymore. I am very happy with the number of close friends I have now, although I could use a few more acquaintances in San Diego! I’d be pretty lonely if it weren’t for email and zoom and texting right now. There would be LETTERS though!

  2. Always an interesting read – please don’t stop your 3x week posts! I think you’re right that we’re fooling ourselves about the worth of friends on social media. It’s a very shallow, superficial and convenient way to interact. Responding with a ‘like’ is almost obligatory. Is it just to boast to ‘others’ that you’ve seen the post? It certainly doesn’t constitute mindful interaction.

    I’m feeling ‘cleansed’ without Facebook (sometimes it felt like the equivalent of ‘rubber-necking’ at an accident scene). That cleanse must be similar to what Mary Ann feels about letting go of one-way ‘friendships,’ I guess. It’s interesting (and alarming) to discover that some of your friends and acquaintances really don’t care. It’s a blow to the ego, for sure.

    1. Exactly, Debbie. Although I don’t think of it as a blow so much as disappointing. Part of it is laziness, I think. Social media makes it so easy to feel like you are “doing something supportive” while making it as convenient as possible for you. I.e. pressing the like button. And I GET it. We all only have so much attention to give. Which circles me right back around. It isn’t realistic to have 1000 “friends.” That’s ridiculous. Now “followers” i.e. “fans” are a whole ‘nother conversation. That’s what happens AFTER you become famous…not before. lol.

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