I've spent the past two months being unrestrained by my self-imposed Internet restrictions from 2014, and it's been educational. While I've still refrained from getting into political debates online, I have allowed myself to be on social media throughout the week.
Here's what I've learned from that: That when you are plugged in, it becomes very easy to believe that you have to be plugged in. To start to think that things will really fall apart if you're not there to observe and comment on them, or that just this one time it is soooooooo very critical that you take up arms in this one particular battle or that battle will be lost and your life will change forever.
These past few weeks have been a great example of that. The threat of people being able to compel me to inject substances I think are dangerous into my children scares me (and the implications of that ought to scare anyone - even the most fervent believer in vaccine safety and efficacy.) So I've been following that debate, and am currently writing an article about it.
But what if I hadn't? What if I had remained tuned out, doing my own thing, working on my creative projects? What then? Is my contribution to this debate going to make a difference? I hope so, and maybe it will. But here's the thing: Every day, I need to choose between making a difference in the moment-to-moment battles and controversies and creating something bigger that may have a lasting and more powerful impact.
Are some of the day-to-day struggles important? Yes. Could some of them impact my life in important ways? Yes. But if I get involved in every present-day controversy, if that's where I throw my energy, then I won't ever get the bigger stuff done. And I won't ever create anything of real beauty. That's not OK. So the choice I'm making now, for 2015, is to keep the big, creative projects as the top priority (in the "work" realm, that is). That doesn't mean I will never get involved in any of the day-to-day battles, but I will strive to really minimize that. Here are the rules that will help me do that:
1. I will not get into political debates or arguments online. If readers respond to articles I write, I will reply, but not in a way that lets the conversation turn into a drawn-out discussion.
2. I will only be on social media (FB, Twitter, etc.) on weekends. (Anything I post on my blog will automatically post to FB and Twitter too - so my posts will be there but I won't.)
3. I will only look at/listen to the news on weekends (barring some dramatic event about which I really need to be informed for our own safety, etc.)
So there it is. Pretty simple. Here's to a fantastic and creative 2015!!!
UPDATE: I realize that as I'm going about my day, writing articles, working on my projects, etc. I sometimes post an article I see to Twitter/FB via Shareaholic. I'm not going to count that as being on social media. I will also occasionally hop on to FB if I'm waiting for a message from someone or to ask a question. I just won't hang out there.