Tuesday, May 13, 2014

#emptyyourselfandlettheuniversefillyou


That I was an early adapter to blogging, is a complete co-incidence, a stroke of luck, or something like it. I'm not technologically savvy. Perched awkwardly on the very ledge between Gen X and the millenials, sometimes also referred to as "the iPod Generation", meaning anyone born after the year 1980, I've only ever managed to be on the cutting edge of technology once; sometime around 2006 when I was the first of my friends to buy both an iPod and a MacBook. Which was only because I'd never owned a computer before and was going to school for screenwriting. Oh, and because my Walkman from 1997 finally crapped out.

Fast forward two years and blogging was still somewhere between a hip fringe phenomenon and an incomprehensibly nerdy pursuit. Starting this log was possibly the last time ever that I'll get onboard a techno-social phenomenon on the ground floor. However even as blogs evolved over the next five years, changing appearances and styles, becoming more polished and professional, with bloggers investing in DSLRs and photoshop and professional web design, branding and narrowing and honing their content, I kept posting on my decidedly old-fashioned platform, writing about this, that and the other and taking pictures with my ancient point-and-shoot.

Part of it was that I figured early on that the increasingly sleek, commercial blogging was not improving  that which I loved about the media, but another part was also my utter stubbornness when it comes to new technology. The idea that I would buy something as expensive as a digital SLR, for my hobby, or something as destructive as a new computer just because the old one crapped out, that we somehow need this technology to function in our daily environments, made me all kinds of rage-y and confused. I know, I know. Writing a blogpost about the evils of technology is incredibly redundant, but that really was my thought-process. There was no way in hell or hades that I was able to convince myself that these devices were anything more than pure frivolity.

I made do for ten months without my own computer, using public terminals and borrowing screen-time from friends, until I finally gave into my "need" for writing, work, blogging and Skype-ing my mom. In the intervening years since then, I've become a lot more dependent on this machine when I was on my old one. For one thing, I've somehow kept generating work for myself which required a personal computer. Let's not kid ourselves: were this thing to face its inevitable planned obsolescence today, I'd probably be using some other device to shop for a new one tonight.

Last summer I also realized that I had, quite unwittingly, gotten to a point where I "needed" a better camera to continue improving my photography, a hobby that blogging had nurtured into something I now enjoy immensely. Not only that but I felt like I really needed a better camera for my etsy photos and some other assorted projects. Mind you, I think my ancient point-and-shoot did me well in that I had to develop a visual sensibility and skill, in spite its limitations. Had I started out with a DSLR I think I wouldn't have learned as much, or be as good at it.

One of the fringe benefits of those ten months without my own computer was a quick and almost complete disengagement with Facebook. Without its presence on my laptop, I found myself less than curious about the babble of my newsfeed and more excited about connecting with people through email and blogs during my limited computer time.

However, upon returning to facecrack, I discovered, much to my puzzlement that everyone I knew seemed to suddenly be spending a lot more time on it, based on the amount of stuff popping up on my newsfeed. Honestly, I was a bit alarmed, picturing my nearest and dearest glued to their computer screens at all hours of the day. It took me a couple of weeks to figure out what was happening: smartphones. They were posting those articles and images and updates from grocery lines, the playground, the coffee shop. And lot of articles, images and updates, at that. It was hard for me to keep up and I mostly hugged the shores of blogland, a place where most people still had to post less than once a day. Over the course of the next year, a lot of my favorite bloggers stopped blogging as much, because they were becoming more engaged in other social networking and micro-blogging platforms, particularly instagram.

Now, I had known an early adapter and looked at their and other people's feeds some, but I just didn't see the appeal. For one thing, all those filters, pretty as they were, made everyone's photos look more or less the same. For another, as much as I like a pretty picture, I much prefer it accompanied with actual words. Maybe that's just me, but all the tricked out emoticons and hashtags in the world can't make up for the intimacy of your words. Also, even its most ardent lovers in my circle were giving instagram mixed reviews, saying that its literally picture-perfect stream of images could easily create feelings of inferiority and envy. And anyway, whether or not I was interested in instagram, made little difference: I did not a device to use it with, nor the bandwidth. That is, until now.


The "need" that drove me to getting a macbook, a DSLR, the one that's forcing my husband into buying a laptop that's not seven-years-old, a printer, a smaller digital camera, we need a device with square capacity for our respective business ventures. We decided on an iPod, which seemed like the device we'd get the most other use out of as well. And it just so happens that it has the power to use instagram. Huzzah! Right? As ambivalent as I have been about the whole phenomenon, I also have to admit I've been following the streams of a few friends and bloggers I like online on my laptop and that it looks like they're having fun the way a lot more people used to on their blogs. I've also often wished I could comment and participate.

Even as I'm getting on yet another technology bandwagon, don't let me forget for a moment that there is nothing inherently good about embracing this iUniverse. That's not to say that there's anything inherently bad about it either, just that new doesn't equal better. Or maybe that's just my technophobia talking. Many people like to argue that technology is what you use it for, myself sometimes included, yet I can't shake the eerie feeling I sometimes get when I think of all the ways it has altered our lives in ten or so scant years. Living somewhere where most people don't have cellphones, let alone smart phones, and the ones who do use them sparingly, part by necessity and part by design, the idea of being connected to the world all the time terrifies me. It might be a backward, annoying, judgmental view, but seeing people in, or from the "regular" world thumbing their devices with glazed eyes, makes me roll my own eyes hard.

As my husband said looking at me struggling with the tiny screen of the iPod shaking his head: "It's all just cheap Chinese labor , toxic rare-earth materials and enormous profits." He may be overlooking the slick, easy-to-use interface, the convenience of a record collection, or the Library of Congress in your pocket, the connections forged online through these devices, but the bottom line is, we remain a little ambivalent about the possibilities of new technology. Now, some of you have already shared some of your feelings about instagram with me, but I'd love to hear more thoughts on microblogging: the ays, the nays, #whatareyouonabouts.


If you're in the ay-camp you can follow me on instagram, provided that you can find me. I also make no promises on content…

Also, Luddites were actually not as technology-averse as colloquialisms would have us believe.


37 comments:

  1. Well, I for one am glad you're on instagram! I never jumped on the FB wagon, so could never really relate to it or the draw. What I like about IG is probably what everyone likes - it's quick, easy, and visual. I think you'll find that not everyone is posting über glossy images of their perfect lives tricked out with some filter. It's fun and conversational, and makes me feel more in touch with folks out there than a once-in-a-while blog post might. I also see a lot of interesting info swapped, people ID-ing plants for one another, cooking tips, travel tips, etc. As far as people being glued to their devices... well, that's still a very personal choice/problem. Good luck finding the balance, Miss Milla!

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement Jodi! It's been fun to see the feeds of folks who's photos I like, but so far, I feel a little underwhelmed. It really is maybe just me, I find I can't engage in it for more than a few minutes, kinda like pinterest. I do like the conversational tone, but it also feels real hollow to me. The plant medicine aspect and seeing more photos from some favorite farm folks is really keeping me interested tho. As for people's addiction to apparatus, I think it's a personal choice we as a society need to discuss more. Personal, after all, is the political, the societal. Anyways, I hope someday soon we'll meet in person and get to talk about all this. Happy Spring! Or is it summer… ;)

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  2. I just got a smartphone this year too because I started my photography business and people expect responses asap! However, I'm not into instagram at all; I couldn't explain what doesn't appeal to me other than it simply doesn't. On the other hand, my blog is pretty much just photos with a few sentences here and there. It doesn't make sense!

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    1. I hear ya. I think it's something about the fleeting nature of it. Everything is just moving along and you like it and like it and like it. It's very futuristic, really. Maybe we're a little old-fashioned? Take good care.

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  3. It's always interesting to me (and somewhat amusing) when I read people talking of c.2008 as being "early days" of blogging, because Blogger and Livejournal both launched in 1999 (I started my first blog in 2000) so in my (subjective) opinion, 2008 seems more like *late* adoption! I think that shows blogging is still in some ways in its infancy and will just keep evolving, in a similar way to how newspapers did for a few hundred years after the invention of printing, from one-page posters to magazines and beyond...

    I have techy friends who are early adopters (some because it's work-related), so in the past I've signed up early to sites as well, but unlike my friends I don't need or want to be an early adopter of the machinery, and I think planned obsolescence is just obscene. I did get a smartphone, but only because my old phone had become completely unusable. At first I didn't trust this little pocket computer, but I grew to love it and I never actually used it as a phone. It became a lifeline when I was too ill to use a computer, because it was small and lightweight and internet-connected, so I could use it lying down and that meant I could talk to people on Twitter and Instagram. I really think I might have gone crazy without the shortform of microblogging to keep me company, especially as reading longform stuff sometimes made me black out halfway through a page (I still don't really know what that was about! brain fog is *weird*). If looking at words on Twitter got too tiring, I could look at pictures on Instagram -- I would have looked at Flickr, where I already had friends, but their mobile stuff sucked for so long I think a lot of people gave up on Flickr and went elsewhere (hence Instagram getting so popular). And regular Flickr seems more unusable every time I look at it, so that's probably also why.

    One thing I always liked about Instagram was that there was no camera snobbery, unlike Flickr. I never had a DSLR and now I don't even have a decent point-and-shoot, just my increasingly craptastic old 3GS phone. But it does the job, and I agree, you hone your eye when you can't rely on the technology to do it all for you. I see that a lot of bloggers have DSLRs, but they still take boring photos. (Also, I get a lot less hassle when I'm out taking pics with a smartphone than with any other kind of camera I've used.)

    Interestingly, it's often been the alternatives to blogging where I've had the most response to what I've posted, more people have commented on photos or replied to tweets than they ever left comments on any of my blogs! It bothers me sometimes. And now I have practically written a whole blog post as a comment, so I should probably stop there.

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    1. No you're totally right, sometimes I get tired of trying to define everything exactly, instead of just writing out my thoughts. The correction really should be that the popularized blogging era spans from somewhere in the 2006s, or 2007s to here, in the formats that we've come to see as blogs, but message boards, live journal and even image blogging platforms (this was the case in finland certainly) existed long-before that. 2008 is early in terms of this era of bloggging, though many of the bloggers who moved onto blogspot, typepad, etc around that time had already had accounts with places like livejournal. In some ways flickr even represented early micro-blogging.

      I know, exactly what you mean about the technology, vs. the equipment. Loving the content, but not the techie aspect of it necessarily. The same thing, with camera snobbery. The idea that you need a dslr to be a "photographer", even an amateur one is inherently snobbish and silly.

      It's so interesting (not to mention terrifying) to read about your illness. I could see reading long-form anything could make your body exhausted in that state and looking at pictures could be soothing. I wonder what that means about our ability to take in information in in different formats. Is a picture really a thousand words, you know? Though I don't have a phone, even I use to think that flickr's way of doing things started to seem obsolete and hard to follow. Yet it's also another one of those changes that seem to occur on the internet all the time, flickr went out as a social networking platform and something else filled the niche. I guess maybe I'm fighting a similar change with my resistance to micro-blogging. Having said that, I'm such a late adapter to that trend that perhaps blogging will soon be retro and make a comeback ;)

      I get the sense that a lot of folks like instagram and twitter partly for that factor of people having easier time with commenting and liking things, but I for one would rather take 1 of these awesome, epic comments than a thousand likes or "hearts". Thank you for that.

      <3 (So analog-y)

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  4. Milla, I'm glad you are writing about all this because I, for one, can't get over two major problems related to all this technology invading our lives (literally):

    1) the fact that, so far, the way these things are produced is very wrong for humans (particularly the workers) and the planet, as Charlie rightly points out.

    2) the amount of time and energy that we spend in "meta" existence, posting or reading (or checking) *about* life, instead of Living it.

    Even without a cellphone, I find myself compulsively checking my few favourite blogs several times a day, reading over and over the same posts - which is no feeling connected, it's being disconnected of my own present moment.

    This is truly preoccupying, since the Present Moment IS the only place where we can truly live, feel, love, be loved, create things, and make grounded decisions for all the other moments to come ;o)

    This is why my only contribution to the online world is slow, thoughtful blogging, and sharing some things on FB (pondering every time if it's necessary, which helps). But still, I am far from immune to the adverse effects of this whole parallel universe...

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    1. To place this in a more general context: humanity has proved, throughout its history, that as far as knowledge transmission is concerned, our technical progress far surpasses (and outruns) our wisdom, at least as a species - and it is, unfortunately, exponential. Most of it is also irreversible (ask the rapidly extinguishing species).

      So - what we can do, individually and collectively, is to ask ourselves: how can we find a better way to *use* these new tools/devices and to *make* them?

      But this implies being aware of what is going on, on both levels - hence the pertinence of such a post and ensuing debate ;o)

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    2. Couldn't agree more. I particularly feel that the whole meta-existance, that way of life, can easily be more damaging than beneficial. Even when we are connecting with folks online, the connection can feel very shallow. At best I've developed real friendships and connected with amazing people, but I find that in my life with people I have access irl those media actually confuse and dilute intimacy and indeed remove you from being present in the moment.

      I agree that all technology deserves our careful consideration and frankly, in my mind a little bit of healthy skepticism. So far most of our post-industrial advances seem to have been more than a little wrought with ambiguity; a lot of bad with the good.

      Thank you, always for your thoughtful words. You measure them out so eloquently.

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  5. Again, you're so to the point. I too believe that we're all a bit too much into technology nowadays, but even as a child I had discussions about technical revolutions. I often worried about what kind of technical 'devices' my children would have, since I saw the difference between what my grandma didn't have (television, mixer, microwave, vacuumcleaner,...) and what my mom did have. I sincerely thought the world was becoming lazy if we kept on inventing things that would make life easier (very stupid example: the remote control for televisions: when I was really little I remember we had to get up to change the television by pushing a button on the tv itself). So I really follow you in this story.

    When I first had my smartphone I thought it was great, now it's slow, needs more updates, won't work how I want it to work, sometimes I can't even unlock,... So what now after three years, I already have to buy a new one if I want to keep up with the trends like Instagram, Facebook, .... (takes too much storage, slows everyting down,...). I seriously went on the look for my old Nokia with keyboard!

    I'm also a bit irritated that sometimes it seems to me that you have no other choice than going along with the stream. Let's say, if I want to put up a small handmade business, I bet I would make tons of more potential clients if I had an Instagram account, Facebook Page, Twitter Account, Tumblr page, ... . How many social media are there actually?

    With blogging it's actually not really different: I put lots of effort and time in blogging that I could spent outside, sewing, knitting or drawing. Okay, you can put the emphasis on the words that accompany the pictures more than on any other social media, but still it takes plenty of time.

    BUT, on the other side: sharing also means learning. I make better photos because I see and learn on the internet. I make better drawings because I get constructive criticism en support from artists from all around the world, I learned myself to knit by means of YouTube instructional videos while I have more than one big basic knitting book on my bookshelves.
    I enjoy feedback and comments from all around the world and learned that there really are people with the same interests as me, they just don't live around the corner but often in another continent ;-)

    And I too, check several blogs (including yours) more than once a day, because I like reading your words, seeing how your world looks like and I get inspired by many things other bloggers do.

    It also bothers me that these days, like Charlie says, technical devices aren't meant to be survive for more than 2 years, so you'd have to buy the new version. Can the world bear any more plastic? It bothers me even more that many of my peers don't seem to care as much as I do or didn't even thought about that.
    Although I'm not a vegetarian, I too ride a car, I use plastic bottles too, and I don't always wear handknitted socks, but I just TRY to be more aware of how I'm living and how big my ecological footprint is. Isn't that the least you can do in return to the world we actually destroyed? So I try not to use that much plastic, but look for alternatives, I try to eat less meat, I try to plan my grocery shopping in a way that I don't have to take my car too often to go to the shop and to self grow my vegetables when I finally have my own garden, I try to bike as much as possible if I go to work (I even sold my old car, when my bf had to buy one for his work, so now we have 1 car, but nowadays it seems to be harder to get around and people just expect you to have a car and get everywhere), I'm trying to be more self-sufficient now and in the near future, I try to be more conscious of the cloths I'm buying and try to make them myself or second hand. I try not to be tempted to buy too many online things originating from distant countries,...

    Oh well I try so much and sometimes I'm tired of explaining why I try so much. :-)

    But I get your point :-)

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    1. I agree with you totally about the need to "go with the flow" honestly, I've felt a little left behind with my favorite bloggers and instagram, yet at the same time, having this experience with it now, I still don't totally see the appeal. It's nice, but not nourishing. Which leads me to your point about blogging. It might just be me, but blogging to me is a creative endeavor. Yes, it takes a bunch of time and perhaps that time could be better spent, making, outside, but the difference to me is between me posting and liking a few quick pictures and taking photos, composing photos, composing text, fiddling with the words, something I do for myself, more than for others, a pursuit. It's almost too intuitive to explain it, but blogging for me combines interests: culture, photography, aesthetics, writing, journaling. Microblogging…it seems faster and less deep to me. Hence my utter ambivalence. I'm sorry I'm having such a hard time making myself understood.

      At the same time, I completely agree with the sharing of information and ideas aspect of internet living. I too have taught myself things from it, and I love getting glimpses into the way others think and live and love. I love the exchange of thoughts just as what we're doing. And I've met some of my best friends "here". That's what I mean about ambivalence. I think it's a balance we are all striking.

      Speaking of balance, I think it's awesome that you're aware of your compromises, if we all were we'd be getting so much more done. The wastefulness of these Turing Machines has been a big topic around our house lately, as our new venture, like you said, seems to require more and more of them. We try to buy refurbished, yet know that it's such a small gesture, a gesture nonetheless…

      Thank you so so much for getting my point and brining yours forward and for hanging out. Hugs!

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  6. I spend a lot more time on Facebook than I wish I did, but at least I'm not one of those people who Facebook while out and about. I just spend most of my time at home at the computer desk, whether or not it's to use the computer, and I realized that I obsessively check Facebook even if I'm playing a video game or looking up a recipe, which is pretty bad. Hopefully working on an island this summer with limited internet access will help me break that nasty habit.

    Speaking of laptops though, I think I'm going to have to go out and buy one now. I was going to borrow my mother's (technically my old one deom 2007) over the summer to write blog posts and skype with family on my day off each week, but in my misguided attempt to install Windows 7 over Vista, I rather killed it. Now I really don't want to go spending $400 on something like that but... I feel like I need it! And I certainly can't bring my desktop and massive PC screen with me. It's a love hate relationship!

    I'm of the uber-connected generation though, most people my age have a moment of spare time and whip out their phones. What they're doing, I am not really certain, and I have never understood why anyone would rather pull out a phone to dull their minds rather than pull out a good book. And quite frankly, for those who say they read on their phones... I honestly doubt that because their spelling is atrocious and nobody gets that glazed over look while reading something mentally stimulating.

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    1. I use my phone as a notebook, so if people assume I'm just online or texting, chances are they're wrong, because I don't use my phone to go online much. Also when I couldn't use a computer or carry a book around due to fatigue wiping me out so much (see my earlier comment), I did actually read on my phone. And I was reading Don Quixote, so not exactly a dumbkopf :)

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    2. Facebook is so weird. It's like eating junk food. It doesn't make you feel good but you can't stop.

      When I was buying this laptop, after both of our old ones crapped out all at once, I tried to do research on whether there was a better vs. cheaper vs. more durable spectrum and came up empty. It made me so mad, trying to buy something that would last longer than a couples of years and not being offered anything. Whenever companies we've bought electronics from ask for feedback I always tell 'em that I'd pay more if they made them more durable/ fixable. Instead they make them less so each year.

      Your perspective is always appreciated here and I hope your laptop troubles and Facebook needs work out the best possible way, oh speaking of which, one of the things I do often when I don't want to distract myself, is just deactivate my fb, it's surprisingly easy to get over. Big Love and lots of spring time for you!

      Mondogogo- you might be the exception, but point well put and taken

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  7. luddites annoy the fucking hell out of me. i love technology and making fun of people who talk shit about smartphones.

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  8. it's true, instagram made me an even lazier blogger. but what's interesting about instagram is how much more personal it becomes than a blog sometimes. you see more intimate moments, not just the pretty and thought-out things bloggers tend to post. maybe it's because it's faster, when people are in the moment and quickly snap a shot to share. welcome to a new layer of social media, it's terribly addictive :)

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    1. I really haven't seen that yet. I guess many of the circle of blogs I'm in is a bunch of folks I know sort of well and so it seems intimate to me. I'll have to look at it in a different way. It seems addictive, but also sort of give-or-take to me. I'm giving it an earnest try, but still remain ambivalent. It is fun to see what you're up to tho, with your busy life. xoxo

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  9. as you know, i have a love/hate relationship with instagram or rather how i react to instagram. i've connected with some really cool people through it, so that's a definite plus. it's fun though and i'm really stoked you're on it now :)

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    1. wow! what a poorly written comment. i think my lack of sleep is seriously catching up with me!

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    2. YOU HAVE A WEE BABE! Therefor you're allowed to write whatever you want. Also it was not poorly written and I love you. Can't wait to catch up with your log.

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  10. Well crafted and thought my dear, but it have to say my first reaction was "don't leave me alone here at the Luddite hotel!" I'm so ambivalent about tech that I only rent a room. I have heard that Instagram is really fun. Honestly I've avoided it because 1. I don't have a smart phone, which is about to change because my phone is dying and the phone company literally has no other option and 2. I don't want another reason to distract myself. I'm with you about wanting words with pics, and Instagram seems to be the twitter of blogging. Already I feel like my posts and FB statuses are less now about connection and more about consumable entertainment. When we moved, we had very little help, save for a few souls, and none of my real time folks checked in to see how we were, but EVERYONE "liked" my FB updates. It felt cheap. That said, I'm sure once I get a smart phone, I will take delight in Instagram and you and anne will be the first two I seek out. :)

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    1. Girl, I most decidedly will not. If it please you, I am currently crafting you a letter on my trusty…wait for it…typewriter! Instagram is fun. Well, sort of. Like I said above it actually reminds me a lot of the earlier days of flickr. People comment and like your shit and you comment and like other people's shit. But I have the same issue with all mediums that focus solely on pictures; pinterest, tumblr, instagram, even twitter and Facebook are deeply unsatisfying. I think people get sucked into those thing BECAUSE they have smart phones, not just because they're addictive. I can do pinterest for about 7 minutes before I start wanting to actually DO something. Same with instagram. I've been checking it morning and/or night and it's about a few minutes on few short intervals and then I'm done. Folks are sweet, pictures are pretty, and I am enjoying people's herbal exchanges, BUT there's no depth to it whatsoever.Not for me anyway. I'm a word girl. I want to read and think and give YOU the one person my undivided attention if even for a moment. You are not part of a "stream" for me in your blog, whoever you are, you're IT for those few minutes. I do look forward to you being there if and when that happens and I'd love to see more of say Missa's world that way, but as of now, I'm still firmly on the fence. LOVE YOU, bonnets and horse drawn carts and all!

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  11. Ah! My husband and I were just discussing this realm of topics today at market--the beautiful market, with all the fresh food and produce and art to buy or look at and smells and sounds. All that, and most people are looking down at this little black rectangle in their hand...it makes me seriously depressed, though I can't voice exactly why. As for the world of blogs and instagram, I think it's good in small doses, like most things. I find other artistic souls to be incredible inspiration and even motivation. But it doesn't replace the real thing. I think that's the problem: that it IS, slowly, actually, replacing the real thing.

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    1. Couldn't agree with you more. One of the things I'm already finding out is that having a mobile device with internet in it 'relieves' you from boredom in this way where you never have to just sit there "doing nothing". Which, shockingly, is even more boring and makes your less engaged with your surroundings, observing things, people. I love blogs I really do and even instagram has lots of inspiration, but I don't understand the obsession with it. I just want to enhance my experience of the present, not the opposite. Speaking of which heading out for a bike ride now. Hugs. Stay on my internets please ;)

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  12. oh no! I wrote a massive giant comment about how Steve calls me a Luddite as I'm always banging on about hating technology and I would laugh my arse off were the internet to implode....but I am totally also a hypocrite, because I do love the information on the internet, and the speed of it, and the weird stalky nature of facebook, and I am a stupid hypocrite at that because I have a smartphone but cannot figure out how to upload instagram, but refuse to learn anything about it!
    keep posting xo

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  13. As I got on the computer, for the first time in days, I was thinking to myself about the difference between reading someone's blog or a news site versus reading a memoir or a newspaper. My lovely partner in life gives me such crap about going online, but doesn't when I sit and read a book. The technology is different, but the content isn't all that different. I was getting online today with the expressed reason to loose myself in someone else's live's for a little bit. Exactly what I do when I pick up a book, fiction or otherwise.
    I remember reading a quote that was along the lines of "Everyone who writes a diary secretly wishes that someday someone will read it." I have been journaling since I was very young, so taking my journaling online and public seemed obvious. Teen Open Diary (now defunct), LiveJournal, and Blogger. A digital path through my teenage years.
    With all that said, I too am somewhat of a technophobe. I have deleted my Facebook and feel no pain or interest afterward. Shocking, I know. My boy gets frustrated with me for not having any apps on my smartphone (Not true! I have my bank app!) and I hate to download anything on my computer. When all my friends were using Napster to illegally download music I was very wary. When people illegally download tv shows and movies I am irked. If it isn't on Netflix or at the library I won't be watching it.
    I am on instagram. I've gone off it a couple times. Why does everyone feel the need to share all this stuff with people? What they ate, where they are, who they are with? Is it because we must give proof to the world that we are living a life? Do we need to record for posterity what we ate on a given day? Will we care 10 years from now? Or is it all for show? A conundrum...
    Also, I completely hate gadgets in the kitchen. I will mix my cookie dough with a wooden spoon before I use an electric mixer. I don't see it as a convenience, I see it as extra shit I have to clean and take care of.

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  14. I bought my first smartphone (an iphone 4s) just over a year ago, and Instagram was one of the main reasons I made the switch. It's actually kind of weird because I wasn't into Instagram at all when it first came out. I figured it was just another fad that would pass quickly, but people started using it more and more, integrating it into their blogs and other social media platforms, and I realized it was going to stick around. I'm not surprised, either. I take for granted the effort that goes into blogging because I do it often enough that it's nestled its way comfortably into my daily rituals, but most people I encounter who don't blog tell me how intimidating it can be to write for the public or to post an image that isn't perfect. Instagram seems to be an easier way to share for those folks, which I think is really cool.

    Over time, I've relied more and more on my phone for taking photos, and I like it this way. I take my phone with me everywhere I go anyway, so I have a decent point-and-shoot camera with me at all times without having to lug around my DSLR. Ultimately, I spend a lot less time in front of a screen now, too, and my laptop time is dedicated mostly to writing. It helps me focus.

    As for those who are on their phones constantly when life is passing right before their eyes, that's a choice THEY make. I don't really think of it as the phone's fault, or even a consequence of owning a smartphone. There are often times when I'm out with friends and everyone pulls out their phone, and I'm just like, "Huh?" If I'm with people, I never feel compelled to bring out my phone unless it's to snap a picture, but then it goes right back in my pocket. It feels strange and rude to be on the phone like that unless I'm by myself.

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    1. Oh god, nothing worse than a conversation with someone texting or face-aching on the iPhone. So rude

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  15. I really like instagram as a medium, even though I notice I'm not on it as much anymore, not with my own photos nor checking out others. Sometimes I'm just not that interested in what everybody else is doing, especially when I've seen a bit too much and everything starts to look alike. I really loved the minimalist photos at first, and then a lot of people started doing that and it just became a parody of itself, it didn't mean anything anymore. The thing for me is not so much envy but boredom, as in I get bored with humanity; everyones sharing the same thing or saying the same thing. It can get really one-dimensional really quickly. That's why I'll always love blogs better; it's more personal and adds more layers. Having said that, it also has a lot to do with who you follow of course.

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    1. I so agree with your comments, blogs can just have a lot more depth.

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  16. I'm a big fan of the old school blog. I started blogging over a decade ago and just prefer the..solidity of blogging. The other mediums seem fleeting and fickle. Why does everything need to be refined to a few words or a single image? I like tumblr (just discovered it) as a micro blog platform, but just don't think I'll come round to regular tweet, instagram use. Pinterest however is my friend!! But fundamentally it'. The blog where I feel at home on the net, the rest are just fluff around the edges.

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  17. P.s talk about some awesome responses to this post! Real conversation, love it. It's the first place I've been here and I'm loving this thread of discussion..brilliant

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  18. I just got back from a 2 week trip from the US to England. I did not get an international plan with my phone, so the only time I had internet access was in the evening back at the flat. It was wonderful to mostly have a holiday from technology, really. But even still I had taken 4 electronic devices with me - iPhone, iPad, Nintendo 3DS, and Kindle, plus I had a small point and shoot camera belonging to Husbeast. I actually used each of them, but not extensively - they had their own place in my ecosystem.

    Walking around during the day, I used the excellent signage that the UK has to direct people around, and the few times I got lost were an adventure. I was still pretty nervous not to have instant access to maps and GPS and inexpensive phone calls in case something happened, but it didn't. I think the break from it all outweighed the risk, and I still had the option to switch on the uber-expensive roaming if something happened - but I didn't need it. That was the lesson learned I think - I don't *really* need it, except when it makes the moment better instead of keeping me from being in the moment.

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  19. It's cool that you are on instagram now, but I agree about blogging. There's something about this old platform that I continue to love . . . I don't want to give up - since I started blogging in 2008 I guess it has been 6 years!

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