Diaries Magazine

Living in the Age of Mass Distraction

Posted on the 25 May 2013 by Jane @Jane_PlanetBaby
Bonsoir, you gorgeous Planetarians! The evenings are getting a little chiller in Old Hobart Town now. I have my winter boots on and the heater turned up. A mug of hot chocolate is keeping me company as Mr PB works his night job and the pixies slumber. Tonight I want to chat about a topic which has been irking me for some time. I suspect some of you have been feeling likewise. Maybe we can compare notes! What's bothering me is our age of distraction. Strike a chord? 
Technology can be tremendously empowering and useful. And we're seduced by its charms so readily. Imagine life without Google! Tricky, isn't it? The pixies certainly can't.
We have so many stimuli firing up our brains throughout the day - too many, I find.
In amongst the hurly-burly of our everyday lives, we can constantly monitor our emails, browse Facebook news feeds, fall down Blogland's rabbitholes, fire off tweets, instagram our way through our days, spend hours mooching away on Pinterest - you know what it's like!
The drawbacks of social media
But technology has its drawbacks.

Living in the age of mass distraction


That picture makes me giggle. A little uncomfortably, to be sure. They left off Pinterest and Instagram, though!
It's true, though. I find my attention diverted every which way.
And I don't like it.
It leaves me exhausted, overwhelmed and lonely.
That's a crazy paradox in this more-connected-than-ever age, don't you think?
I've heard it described as the peril of 'over-engaging'. That really hits a nerve for me.
So what am I doing about it?
I've cut back the blogs I follow to 173. I'm still culling.
That only takes me so far. How, and how often, I check for new blog posts are the biggies.
Living in the age of mass distraction Now that Google Reader will cease operating on 1 July 2013, I've started using Feedly. It's a brilliant reader. I adore it. This excellent New York Times article explains how it works.
I find Feedly allows me to scan posts and 'mark them as read' most efficiently. And the magazine option is a far more visually engaging style compared to Google Reader. It's a pleasure to use.
I browse through Feedly about once every couple of days. I've learnt to let go and resist the call of the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) - read this brilliant article here about this phenomenon.
And you know what? It feels fantastic. I'm back in control of my ship's tiller!
In July 2012, I posted about reclaiming my social media identity back here and my plans for dealing with Facebook.
My thoughts have hardly changed. In fact, I feel the unease caused by social media even more intensely now I have a smartphone.
I changed my mind about having a 'Life on Planet Baby' fan page. I don't see the need. Running the 'Planet Joy' fan page is challenging enough as well as my personal page.
I now plan to:
  • post a status update several times in the near future advising my friends that I am reorganising my FB use by having both personal and Planet Joy fan pages;
  • invite those who want to remain my personal FB friends to *like* that status update and/or comment on it;
  • advise that anyone who doesn't respond will be 'unfriended' (a terrible word!); and
  • invite those who want to follow my Life on Planet Baby blog fan page to *like* it.
I'll let you know how I go! Hmm, it feels a tad confronting but I know I have to do it.
I'm also weeding out all the pages I have liked and limiting the time I spend on Facebook.

I am rarely there anymore. It doesn't excite me. There's a lot of negativity and unpleasantness. Not to mention the noise. I don't have the spare energy for wading through the chatter to find the bits I like.
Google +

I've deleted my account.
And not regretted it one little bit.
Living in the age of mass distraction
As many of you know, I've been seduced by the Mistress-called-Instagram. I find it so enjoyable and satisfying. Expressing myself in photos is a pleasure.
But I have to keep an eye on myself. Resisting the urge to check my phone often is challenging. Especially when there's some fun banter going on! But I want, and need, to. I have more important things to focus on first. Instagram should only be a pleasurable habit, not an end in itself.
I might even have an Insta-cation soon, like Anna.
To finish, do look at this hilarious Instagram parody for a giggle. It makes me laugh out loud! And laughing at myself has to be a good thing, right?!
So, wish me luck as I implement these changes to my social media consumption. And do tell - do you get as distracted as me by social media? Or have you sussed out the right balance between living your life and documenting it? I can't wait to hear your thoughts. Photobucket

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