I'm a lot like you describe here as well Diane (But not 43 groups!!). I try to ration my attention to what is important to balance several things:
- My current projects
- My future thinking towards future projects/learning - what might be of interest.
- My buddies and their activities/needs. Very important.
- Pure fun.
I find this really hard and generally am unsatisfied with the result. Nancy White has talked about knowing when to skim and when to go deeper as a key competency for being online. I guess it starts with our goals and focus. In some ways this whole discussion here is partly about our attitudes and habits with the current configuration and tools we have open to us on the net - and has been fascinating. The comments about Facebook for example. It's back to how out PLE and personal online habits intersect (or not) with the way other things are set up.
[Tangential comment follows. Hit delete if you are busy]
I've also been thinking about what
I dip into and how
I am now on day 18 of a personal experiment: we've stopped getting the daily newspaper delivered. The initial reason was to provide some more focus for a son in the critical minutes between 6.45am and school, and to get some focus on planning the day for the disparate individuals who live and visit the house. But it has become more than that because of a book I have been reading: Neil Postman's "Amusing ourselves to Death". [He wrote "Teaching as a Subversive Activity" which was hugely influential on many of us]
His Chapter 5 "The Peek-a-Boo World" has led me to examine what I dip into each day and why.
- How do I keep up?
- What do I want to keep up with?
- What do I NEED to know?
- What do I do with what I read?
- The personal interest/work divide (which sometimes blends)
He believed print as a medium "encourages thought and judgment upon arguments" and that the telegraph broke down this, removing context (introducing irrelevance, impotence and incoherence) - 'no longer tied to any function it might serve in social or political decision making and action, but may attach merely to it's novelty, interest and curiosity" (p66).
[I don't have time to converge my thoughts totally coherently and type them up. At the risk of wasting your time I'll insert a small quote from http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Students/jog9901.html
Postman saw the advent of the telegraph as the turning point in what was later to become, in his eyes, a spiralling effect. With the telegraph came the notion that information no longer ‘derived its importance from the possibilities of action.’ The telegraph conquered space, and news thenceforth was of a national variety, having no bearing on local communities and neither therefore, on individuals. Hand in hand with the telegraph came the ‘assault of’ photography, which made a bid to replace the written word. Postman believes the former to be markedly inferior; it records the world rather than comments on it, for which language is needed, language that has categorised a world of flux and infinite variety in a way that is not possible in a photograph. This cemented the nefarious effect of telegraphic news by giving faces to the names of the people in what had become ‘irrelevant’, national news. Both the telegraph and the photograph were moments frozen in time without real context or content, throw away information that heralds Postman’s ‘peek- boo-world’ where we are entertained by an event that vanishes as soon as it arrived.
"Only in the printed word, he states, could complicated truths be rationally conveyed. A striking example Postman gives: that the first fifteen U.S. presidents could probably have walked down the street without being recognized by the average citizen, yet all these men would have been quickly known by their written words. However, the reverse is true today. The names of presidents or even famous preachers, lawyers, and scientists call up visual images, typically television images, but few, if any, words come to mind. The few that do almost exclusively consist of carefully-chosen soundbites" (Wikipedia)]
Plus: Neil ate with vice-president Gore, spoke to the assembly at Davos Switzerland, and was the direct influence on Roger Waters’ (the former Pink Floyd lead-singer) stunning solo album, Amused to Death, a fact which single-handedly increased the enrollment numbers at NYU’s Media Ecology program. (The New Pantagruel)
Neil Postman died in 2003. I wonder what he thought of the internet? And Youtube/TeacherTube and podcasting?
a) In the internet world I have been paying attention to my RSS feeds for NEWS. In my experiment several times I have had access to the paper after checking some headlines or listening to a radio bulletin and asked myself as I flip through the paper,"have I missed anything I needed to know?"
At the moment, feeds are winning
. But the information is a bit more than I can cope with.
But I would have missed some great letters to the editor, some quirky stuff . . . And some advertisements I am interested in. :-)
b) Two stories I have followed ONLY online: the teenagers who 1) hacked the Aussie internet filter and 2) hacked the iphone. I have got diverted into other stories about Owen Wilson and Mrs Clinton.
c) Yesterday I found myself with the laptop open on the dining room table during morning coffee surfing the news. OH NO!!
Have a nice weekend.