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Social Media Disconnect

social media disconnectBy Lori Widmer

The younger generation inhabiting my residential orbit these days are connected. By that I mean they’re tweeting, updating Facebook, and spending quality time with smart phones, netbooks, and WiFi connections. I think it’s great how we’ve transitioned to a more technical-savvy culture, but also I think it’s a shame. We now live among vast amounts of noise.

Sitting in restaurants, riding in cars, walking side-by-side on the street, connected people are ironically completely disconnected as they text, talk, and generally ignore the people right next to them. Living without a text message is tantamount to being shipwrecked without water. And can someone really spend six solid hours playing on an iPhone? Yes indeed. I’ve witnessed it personally.

I love having these tools. I’m missing the smart phone (mine is, by comparison, rather dim-witted). They enhance my writing business tenfold. But I think they’re making us stupid and putting a rather large wedge between us and our creativity.

As creatives, we often get caught up in the noise and don’t realize it. It came to me once after buying a new swing and sitting down on it for ten minutes. The moment my feet left the ground, the noise evaporated. And an amazing thing happened – ideas came flooding in. One of those ideas resulted in my first finished novel manuscript. Those ideas came without the help of an iPhone, netbook, Kindle, or laptop. Just my brain and me at rest.


Try it. Try going one hour, one afternoon without Internet, text messaging, or computers. Take a break from technology and remember what it was like to listen to your life without the hum of fans and buzz of cell phone messages. Go somewhere quiet with a pen and paper in your pocket (remember those?), and let your mind slow down. Then see what happens.

I value the disconnection almost more than the connection. Next week I’ll be in a place where cell phones don’t get signals and Internet connections are miles away. It’s a recharging of the soul, and one I look forward to every year. Every year, I take my notebook and pen. Every year, it comes back sporting evidence of a mind unfettered. When a writer asks me how to get ideas, I say do it by tuning out.

How often do you allow yourself space to think?

Lori Widmer blogs at Words on the Page. You can learn more about her at her business site, and if you want to follow her on twitter it’s: http://twitter.com/LoriWidmer

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Image from http://www.sxc.hu

{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Right now, I’m dating someone I met online (not at a dating site) and we have no other way to keep connected. We text and message each other more than talking on the phone, because it’s more economical. With Skype we can talk online for free but have to be at the computer. It’s nowhere near as good as seeing each other. Thank goodness, we’ll be spending a (very) short weekend together soon.

    I love the Internet and am on it frequently. However, from time to time I like to turn off the streaming music and the news sites and Facebook and the TV and all the other crap and just read.
    Elizabeth West recently posted..Squeeze that Story- Is It FreshMy Profile

    • Anne

      Yes, isn’t silence wonderful once and awhile?

  • Oh okay, Cathy. Leave the pen behind (don’t want you to hurt yourself!). 🙂

    Becky, that’s exactly what I’m talking about – reconnecting with actual thought rather than assisted thought. Let the mind wander, let the hands create in new ways. Amen for it, too.

    Devon, I agree. The three of us had no reason for cell phones or computers (I will admit to glancing once to make sure he’d sent his number at the new office). We had conversations. We shared. We didn’t say “Really? Wait a second….” and split our time between the conversation and the phone.

    I tend to write my poetry longhand. I journal in notebooks. I need that connection to a slower method, one that forces me to focus more intently and less schizophrenically.
    Lori recently posted..How and Where to LookMy Profile

  • Lori:

    Amen! Another great way to reconnect with your soul is parasailing in beautiful Maui. The sky and water are so blue and there is absolute silence way up there–spiritual! A little hard to manage a pen and paper, however. LOL!! 😀

    Have a great weekend, everyone!
    Cathy Miller recently posted..Shouldn’t Change Start With CustomersMy Profile

  • Look how much fun our trio had at lunch today, connecting to each other rather than worrying about email or phone.

    I turn my phone OFF when I work. When I’m done for the day, I don’t go back on the computer.

    If I’m on a date, and he’s texting and taking phone calls, I leave. If I’m not interesting enough to be the central focus for the time we’re together — we shouldn’t be together.

    I still prefer to do first drafts of fiction in longhand. It requires fewer revisions.
    Devon Ellington recently posted..Friday- July 23- 2010My Profile

  • I did this a little yesterday. Went to a coffee shop with my markers and some envelopes that I need to mail (doing an art exchange, so I thought I’d decorate them a little). So I sat there, trying to make fancy letters, and just not really thinking a lot. It was quite relaxing and I came away refreshed. I need to do that more often.

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