The internet is a fascinating place. There are so many people out there saying so many interesting things. There is so much going on that it is easy to feel like if you don’t constantly check things and contribute to the “conversation” that you are going to miss out on something. It was bad enough with email and made worse by facebook and twitter. In the meantime you miss out on a lot…the people who are in the room with you, priorities and responsibilities that are more important, relationships that need worked on, time studying, praying, and communing with God. The irony – Our fear of missing out makes us miss out on things that are far more important.
There are several ways to correct this. One could just go techneticism (technology meets asceticism) and drop the whole thing. I am seeing more and more people go on facebook fasts, dropping twitter and reconnecting and re-engaging with the world that has been around them the whole time…they just didn’t notice because they had their face glued to a screen. So the pendulum swings from one extreme to the other. Sometimes that is exactly what is needed. Everyone is different and that is entirely appropriate. Or we/I could do a better job with two things: boundaries and balance with respect to time and attention. It is important that we take inventory of how we are using our time and where we are directing our attention. There is only so much attention to go around and it is a zero sum game. If you get your attention to one thing you are by default not giving it to another. Are there more important people or things who need our attention but fail to get it because we are placing it somewhere else?
Bottom line – This is a desire issue. Asceticism is about taming our desires. In reality it is more about redirecting our desires. Which do you desire more, a multitude of connections with distant people and events, or deep connections with the people you are in the presence of day in and day out? Our desires do need redirected toward things that are healthy to our souls and not the continuous chase for something new or fear we are going to miss out on the latest thing or not be a part of it. Were we ever a part of those things to begin with?
Have you wrestled with this? What have you decided? I am guessing you haven’t given up on blogs because here you are.