Tuesday, October 25, 2005

post the fourteenth

It is a time of moral crisis...what do I do?

My freshman year I was big into the instant messaging scene. I had close to a hundred (it may have been 150, I really don't recall) people on my buddy list, and thus I spent countless hours on the Internet talking to various people. When I came back from the mission, AIM had deactivated my account by virtue of the fact that I hadn't used it in so long. Despite some intial disappointment at losing some contacts, I decided that this was a good thing, since now I would be far less tempted to spend hours on my computer late at night. Oh sweet deliverance! I now had hours and hours to accomplish worthwhile tasks.

Flash forward a year and change.

So now here I am spending countless hours on the Internet, though I still don't use any sort of instant messaging service. I've been roped into various forums that require my attention. I find myself putting off homework so I can check "just one more thing" on one of my forums. I'm back in the tangled web (hey, that's a pun! I'm so clever) that is the Internet. And now people are telling me that it would just be so much more convenient if I were to get back into the instant messaging scene so they could talk to me more regularly. So do I get back in, or do I stay out?

I've thought about this, and I have made cases for both sides.

I justify my current Internet usage by my status as a 100 Hour Board writer. Being a writer requires me to log on essentially every day and answer questions. This is a committment that I have, and it would be irresponsible of me to just ignore it. This Internet usage isn't merely for entertainment, but is sort of like having a job, except I don't get paid, and there really isn't any sort of acknowledgement of my work. (That's another issue entirely, and I may or may not address it later.) That said, I want to avoid getting tangled up in purely entertainment-based Internet usage. I don't want to end up staying up all night talking on IM when I could be doing other, useful things, such as eating, sleeping, broadening my social horizons, and reading books.

However, the fact that I could use IM to extend my social sphere has also occured to me. I met a lot of people here when I used IM freshman year. I've been meeting a lot of people via the Internet so far this year. This is a good thing. I'm very much interested in maintaining the friendships that I've developed thus far through the Internet and strengthening them, if at all possible. Being in further contact with these new people seems like the way to go, if that's my goal.

But then again, there's the principle of the whole thing. I stopped using instant messengers, and I'm really proud of myself for having done so. Getting back into it would make me feel like I'd lost the moral war I'd waged on IM. But in the end, is it really a war worth waging? Should I even bother?

Maybe I'll just curl up at home with my Hello Kitty doll and slowly increasing collection of Lemony Snicket books and rock myself to sleep. I don't know.

- Optimistic.


fine print said...

I doubt you'd really start spending that much more time online because you'd go crazy if you did. It would just be allotted differently. Are you going to stop playing games with people on Friday nights because you'd rather read online posts? Unlikely. Then again, I've cut way back on the IM usage and it's really nice to not find oneself in IM-induced stupors so often. So perhaps if you can somehow control your time it would be okay. You can always extend your social sphere without IM, of course.

The Lolita said...

I agree with fine print. I don't think you'd spend more time online because of it, you'd probably just multitask more. That's what I do! Right now I'm chatting, reading blogs, checking DA, typing notes from class, listening to music, and drinking soda!

Of course, I could just be ADD.

Thirdmango said...

That is so interesting to me, I have no idea how you could get so many people on your IM, I've had AIM since 9th grade and I currently have about 3 of 13 blog peoples online, 6 of 45 college buddies and the most I've had in a while is 10 online. 2 of 19 high schoolers. And 1 of 3 from x-wars. That's it, for 8 years. It boggles my mind that you're able to do much more. Even though I'm logged in most of the time, I usually end up having maybe one 5 minute conversation a night. So i don't think it's too big a deal, just use it for those quick uses.

the pope said...

I don't think you should. Don't let the net suck you in. Didn't you see that movie? Ok, well I didn't either, but still... I suggest you pursue a hobby, pick up a sport like lawn curling or join a club. I'm sure someone we know would enjoy someone to join him at college republicans meetings.