Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Virtual Editing

It must be the seasonal change, regardless hemisphere.  It seems lots of bloggers are evaluating how much time they spend on the internet and making proactive decisions to be more efficient with their time.  I've been doing the same.  This past week I finally cancelled my satellite television subscription.  I realized that the few televisions shows I watch are few and far between and are always repeats of episodes that originally aired two or more years ago.  For far less than what I paid a month for my subscription, I was able to purchase two complete seasons of used DVDs for programs I watch on occasion.  

I've started to view television as a one way conversation:  programmers provide the conversation and I can either listen or ignore what they're saying.  I don't have any input, but now I've eliminated that monologue.  The internet, however, is a two way dialog in which I can be a participant.  I love the internet as it's a wonderful tool to keep in touch with friends, family, and like-minded people and it's like having the Library of Congress in your house.  The problem is, I sometimes have too many choices.  That's where the problems begin.  Right now, I have over 250 blogs listed in my Google Reader, I belong to a number of Yahoo Groups, and I have Facebook friends that I don't really know.  Keeping up in just these areas requires lots of time that I'm no longer willing to sacrifice.  

Today I'm going to start some virtual editing.  Here are some of the steps I'm going to take:

Facebook - I really shouldn't have more than 50 "friends."  More than that and I find it distracting and time consuming to wade through the discussions, announcements, and trivia.  As an introvert, I really find it too overwhelming.  So, I'm going to "hide" a large number of friends.  Not that I don't care about those individuals, it's just that my plate is too full.

Blogs - I'm going to edit my list in Google Reader to about 50, then I'll monitor those 50 to see which ones really speak to me and will probably reduce the number again.

Email - It seems that my inbox is often full of advertisements and newsletters that I somehow subscribed to over time.  I end up wading through those bothersome emails to get to the ones I really need or want to read.  So, I'm going to start unsubscribing to all those unnecessary emails.

Yahoo Groups - Again, I'm a member of too many.  I don't always read or participate in those groups, but I know they're there and I find it distracting.  I'm going to cancel my memberships to all but a handful of those groups that I find truly engaging.

Searches - Doing Google searches can be a huge waste of my time.  I'm going to start making a list of things I really want or need to know, then sit down and do only those searches.  I'm going to try hard to resist going down the rabbit hole of endless information.

Some readers might think these are drastic steps and maybe they are for some individuals.  As for me, I think it's just what I need to keep sane.

I'm curious:  what are your internet time wasters and are you going to do anything about them?


wanda said...

I've taken a lot of these same steps in the past year - except for the searching one. That's really smart. Remember the days when you were on a long car ride and you couldn't remember who sang The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia, and you spent hours going through your brain trying to figure it out? would take a long, long time to get to Vicki Lawrence. Now we just text it to Google and get the answer. Which can be a good thing when the question is 'where is the nearest bathroom' but we really are overloaded with information that we don't really need, and I think it impacts our cognitive function. I'm thinking about setting up a work work-station and a home work-station. Then I would limit the one to working and have to physically walk to the other to a. check my home email, b. flip over to iGoogle to see anyone has posted a new blog entry c. shop on (oh how I love!) etc... Now, I think this probably sounds extreme, and if I didn't already have a laptop I wouldn't do it. But I have the room and the computer and I think it would really help me to be more productive.

Adrienne said...

I have to keep after all the things you mentioned or I can use up an entire day (really!) on the computer.

Shona~ LALA dex press said...

My #1 time waster is the new instant watch section on Netflix. I have sooooo many movies I add to my queue + have not watched. Sometimes I think I need to clear some out (as in watch) before I add more, but those days rarely come.

Otherwise, the internet s not a time suck for me. I have a handful of sites I go to daily (less on the weekend since most update M-F). I do edit my blog reader about every other month, although this is not a scheduled thing.

No Facebook (or abandoned MySpace) to muck about with.

Deanna said...

Interesting. I'm on the same path. I checked and I have 230 blogs in my Google Reader and that's after unsubscribing to a few this past week. I have some in folders and often mark an entire folder as "read". There are some I haven't actually read in ages but for some reason, I've kept them "just in case". It's time to narrow them down.

As for Facebook, I've already cut WAY back but I think I'm going to put together a group of those I care about the most and "hide" the rest. I currently have 664 friends and while I have already hidden all the games and junk, that's still to much to keep up with.

I belong to LOTS of yahoo groups but most I haven't looked at in a year or more. A few days ago I went no-mail on the unschooling list I've belonged to for over 10 years (some of my dearest friends are on that list) so I'll definitely be back but for now it was just too much. French Chic is currently the only one I'm reading.

One thing I'm trying to do is make up a weekly schedule for sites I like to go to and just pick one per day. I think it will be more satisfying to be able to spend a bit more time on a site rather than try to quickly check out several per day.

And then there are the three blogs I maintain. ;) Yes, so many things to keep me online. And people wonder why I refuse to play any video or online games, won't look at (one of my friends calls it The Vortex), and won't start a new tv show until it's on dvd so I can watch it via Netflix.

I sometimes wonder what I used to do with all my time before the Internet...

LRS4AMANDA said...

I never got a Facebook account because I don't want old friends that I haven't seen in 35 years looking me up...I have 3 friends from high school that I still see and that is enough!

Google can be a wonderful tool, especially when I need to look up medical information. I always say to my husband, "what did we do before the internet"?

What I hate is all those forwarded emails that you get that are either stupid, sappy or false information. I go straight to the "delete" button. :)


Cherie said...

Wanda, now I know I'm on the right path if you, someone I know as a master of the internet, have decided to cut back. I know you're right about it affecting our thinking - I do believe it's starting to suck out my brain cells.

Adrienne, I also find my day being frittered away without my knowing it so that's why I've started this editing process.

Shona, I suppose I'm lucky that our Netflix instant watch doesn't work well with our internet connection. Otherwise, that might be yet another thing I'd be editing.

Deanna, I've done the same with my Google Reader, put blogs into folders so it's easier to mark large groups as read but allowing me to save my essential reading for another day.

And, if you're like me, stay away from Although we learned a lot about family (and found lots of skeletons ;)), that site stole a big chunk of the summer from my sister and me.

Linda, I do love the internet but you're right about a couple of things. One, I don't have my maiden name on FB so I can't be found by those long lost "friends." And I've tried to make it very clear to well-meaning family and friends that I don't want "forwards" as they are usually lies and time wasters. Not everyone listens though...