How Do You get Away from the Internet?


Camels in Rajasthan India

Girls, Palaces, Camels– Rajasthan, India. Copy right Damyanti Biswas

To write about escaping the internet on a blog is a ridiculous, ironic, thing.

A blog is on the internet, after all, and why would I blog if I want to escape the internet?

I don’t, not really, not all the time.

But some days, the noise really gets to me, the constant demand of voices from all over– friends, strangers, trolls, crazies.

I plug off at such times, from my blogs, social media.

And then I travel– physically when I can, and into fiction when I can’t:  reading, and writing– that’s who I am, after all. A compulsive reader and writer.

Does the noise from the net ever get too much for you? How many hours in a day do you spend on the internet?

How much time do you spend with folks who don’t know what the internet is all about?

Have you ever wanted to escape the Internet? How do you do it?

Five Weird OCD Twitter Rituals You Should Consider Trying


Twitter is my favorite social media platform, but I have to confess I am a little OCD and ritualistic when it comes to my Twitter experience.  Most of these processes involve ways to clean up my tweet stream, but others are the ways I engage and interact. It might seem a little odd to some people, but it works out well for me.

Here are five of my weird OCD Twitter rituals:

1. TwitCleaner

On the first of every month, I religiously run TwitCleaner to clear the noise from my stream. It’s the quickest way to unfollow suspected bots, people who post too many duplicate links, people who post only links, and people who have little or no interaction with their followers.

2. ManageFlitter

Every Monday morning I run Manage Flitter to see who unfollowed me so I can return the gesture and  unfollow those who have inactive Twitter accounts. I’m always able to weed out between 30-60 followers that way. Perhaps it seems petty to unfollow those who’ve done the same to me, but I am a strong believer in two-way interaction.

3. Morning Tweets

I tweet every morning from 7:30am-8:30 am with my morning coffee (excepting weekends and vacation). I like to be able to to catch up with anyone who personally interacted with me since bedtime the night before and allows me to keep  a strong level of engagement with my most active followers.

4. Evening Tweets

I tweet every night from 8:45pm-9:45 pm (excepting weekends and vacation), because I work a regular 9-5 job during the day and my “mom” job after school, and this allows me to catch all the tweets I might have missed earlier in the day. I don’t like my tweets to go unnoticed, and I know my followers appreciate a reply. Sometimes I miss a few people, because I have a lot of activity in my mentions feed, but I try to be diligent in catching up with everyone.

5. Retweets

During my morning and evening tweet sessions, I make sure to retweet at least 20 followers each during both times from my main Tweet stream. I specifically select followers I haven’t had recent interaction with in awhile to let them know I haven’t forgotten them and to show a little extra love to the followers who have helped me with retweets and website visits. I also spend this time reaching out and interacting with people I might not have tweeted with in awhile.

Of course, there are times I am able to tweet a little during the day, but it’s not often.  With my weird OCD Twitter rituals in place, I feel like I’m on top of things most of the time. I have different routines for Facebook, G+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc., but those are posts for another time.

How about you? Do you have any OCD Twitter rituals? Assure me I’m not too crazy by sharing them in the comments! :-)

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This post by Amberr Meadows has been syndicated with permission from her and Jim Dougherty , on whose blog the post first appeared.

When Was the Last Time You had a Conversation?


And I don’t mean ‘Pass me the vegetables’ or ‘We ran out of milk’ sort of sound bytes. Nor do I mean texts, or Facebook messages, or Tweets.

Conversations

Conversations

Conversation is when two (or more) people talk face-to-face, not because they’ve been forced to by the circumstances, but because they wanted to talk, and took time out of their lives to do it.

I was recently visiting friends, and realized how our handheld devices– iPads, smartphones, distract our eyes (and attention) even when we’re with those we like/love. We never give fully of ourselves– in our need to stay connected with many, we hardly ever truly ‘connect’ with the person sitting next to us.

This is why, an article I read recently in the New York Times really resonated with me: (The article is quite worth a look..)

In the silence of connection, people are comforted by being in touch with a lot of people — carefully kept at bay. We can’t get enough of one another if we can use technology to keep one another at distances we can control: not too close, not too far, just right. I think of it as a Goldilocks effect.

Texting and e-mail and posting let us present the self we want to be. This means we can edit. And if we wish to, we can delete. Or retouch: the voice, the flesh, the face, the body. Not too much, not too little — just right.

Human relationships are rich; they’re messy and demanding. We have learned the habit of cleaning them up with technology. And the move from conversation to connection is part of this. But it’s a process in which we shortchange ourselves. Worse, it seems that over time we stop caring, we forget that there is a difference.

I agree that we use technology to keep others at bay while still giving the impression of complete accessibility– but it is not technology that makes us do it, but our increasingly self-centered world-view. We have no time for others.

A splendid (by my standards, anyway) conversation I had the other day was in fact enabled by an iPad– I and my girlfriends spoke across the seas to another of us, via Skype: she is expecting a new arrival, and we admired her baby bump, the cute (but slightly over-sized) woolens she has knitted for the baby, waved to her husband, and promised to take pictures and facebook all the local food she craved (but could not find in her new country) just in order to tease her!

From time immemorial, technology always has been a two-way process– we use it to make our lives easier, but it also affects us in ways we did not account for. I’m just hoping all our communication devices do not actually deprive us of our conversations.

When was the last time You had a conversation? Do you find yourself having less conversations the more you connect?

Do you Find Women Writers on Social Media Annoying?


Do You Find Women on Social Media Annoying?

Do You Find Women on Social Media Annoying?

Wherever I go on social media, I meet other women. I’m not complaining, I’m not out to meet men (I’m in a very happy marriage, thank you very much), but really, do all groups on the internet have to be heavy on women?

I interact with more women than men on Twitter, on Facebook, on my blogs, on Linkedin, on Goodreads, Google+, on Triberr.

(The same in real-life groups I visit—most participants at writers’ workshops and symposiums are women, a lot of women in writers’ critique groups or writing groups. Why do you think that is? Is it because women talk more? Ahem, Do women talk more than men? I do, don’t I, at least my husband seems to think so lol. Are there more women-writers than men-writers? Do women like more work-shopping and critiques? )

I’m a woman myself, and I’ll be lying if I said I hate All the girly support group thingie— the long-winded I-hear-you, you’re awesomesauce, don’t worry about (current enemy of choice), we’re-all-there-for-you kind of group-love shit. All the women I’ve ended up collaborating with on projects (and will continue to work with) are worth their weight in gold.

But once in a while, I long for silent, pat-on-the shoulder kind of support. Or maybe, ‘Yeah, I get you, peace’ sort of comments, or maybe a joke or two—something I mostly see from men.

Is it the latent tomboy in me that misses men on the internet and in writing groups, because, as a child, all my friends were boys, and I ran and fought and kicked with the best of them?

I consider myself very happy to be woman, but as a writer, I often find myself talking in the male voice. I wonder whether that has something to do with the fact that I often find a lot of women (and women-writers) needlessly vocal, over-friendly, or ‘over-supportive’…even noisy? I’m terrified it is all rubbing off on me, and I’m becoming one of those loud, annoying types in my social media interactions.

I hope not.

Men writers on the internet and in real life seem a lot more restrained lot, and maybe the writer side of me finds this aspect of social communication reassuring: less noise, more space to space out and dream.

Or has growing up in a patriarchal setting affected me in some kind of inverse way I don’t understand?

If you’re a woman and a writer, do you find other women-writers annoying, cloying, even false at least some of the time?

If you’re a man, and a writer, what’s your take on men and women writers on social media and the different ways they interact?