More Sound Advice for Spending Time Online

Breathe

In the last blog entry, I wrote that I agreed with Sherry Turkle, the author of Alone Together, that a great way to spend more time with people was to avoid social media and texting during certain parts of the day. This is still a good idea so that people can actually face-to-face connect with others, and to have time to allow yourself to think, but in Howard Rheingold’s booked titled, Net Smart, he gives additional ways to take control over technology’s pull. I was amazed by how simple his advice is.

Just like Turlke, Rheingold says that people need to spend some time away from technology and learn how to meditate and to breathe. By focusing on your breathing, you are focusing your attention onto one thing. By learning how to focus your attention on a singular thing, you can re-teach your brain to focus on one thing and let the distractions drop away. By being able to focus on one thing while online, you will be able to focus on your intent – your exact reason for being online – so that you can solely work on that one thing that you need to get done, instead of being distracted by random emails, instant messages, Facebook, or other things lurking to steal your attention away.

Meditation

My husband would agree with Rheingold about meditation, but I never would have thought that one could apply it to thriving online. Thinking back to my husband and about him meditating, I realize that he is a lot more focused on various things than I am. He tells me that I get distracted too easily, and that I need to learn to be more disciplined, which I believe could come from meditation. After reading Rheingold’s chapter on “Attention,” I may have to tell my husband that I will join him on his next meditation journey.

Results are Power

Now, if what Rheingold says is true that meditation helps with focusing attention, which in turn helps with “crap detection” (using your focus to research things on line to see if they are actually credible or not) and “participation power” (participate online by creating content such as photos, videos, news stories; sharing content; or editing Wikipedia or other community-based informational websites), then many people who want to success may want to do this too. I believe that I have had a good start in both crap detection and participation already, as I often create photos, video clips, and share links to other photos, video clips, and news stories on my blog and Facebook page. Just as Rheingold suggests, when I find something on the internet to share, I look at the url of the website, check for the author, and etc. to see if the content is from a place that I can trust. I do this because if I provide crap to my readers, my readers may complain or stop following or unfriend me. I want to keep my authority role as a trusted content provider.

Conclusion

For the most part, I found Rheingold to be providing common sense information and very helpful tips, in regards to thriving online – how to use your intentional attention to focus on what actually matters, which is having some downtime from technology, and being able to detect the credibility of internet content. By being able to do both, I can be a great participator online by creating and sharing trustworthy content on social media websites. But the one thing that spoke out the most was meditating. My sweet husband; he has been telling me to meditate for years, but it took a book to finally do it. I will just tell him that I finally came to my senses.

Posted on October 17, 2015, in Blogs, Social Media, Technology, Trust and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I also found Rheingold’s focus on attention and meditation interesting. Being constantly tuned to others through technology, it makes sense that stepping away from it and focusing our attention inwards provides a good balance.

    Dev Bootcamp is an intensive, nine-week web development program offered in several major cites across the US. Interestingly, Dev Bootcamp makes yoga a mandatory part of their program. Their website boasts, “When you’re coding for 8 to 10 hours a day, the time to step away from the screen gives your mind a break and engages your entire body with stretches and poses”. As a result, of the mind body connection students are less stressed and can communicate better. That being said, perhaps its worth giving it a shot..

  2. One of the reasons mindfulness is so important is that the experience allows our brains to go back to “pre-technology” strength. Until recently I meditated 15 minutes a day at lunch. Closed the door, shut the blinds and breathe. Before I had an office I used to sit in my car and shut my eyes. But I’m facing both a hand and shoulder surgery in the next month and in my rush to get schoolwork and work-work done in advance, I’ve let meditation slide. Within days, my overall focus was down, and while I’m trying to do alot at once, I find I’m taking more time than if I did things one at a time. On the plus side, I still have “no-technology” Sunday’s at home, and my teens still adhere to when they could easily say no. My own son who struggles with ADD and hearing loss says it helps him “clear” his brain for the new week. It may not be complete silence and focus, but it’s a level of “mindfulness” that is helping my kids. In my opinion with our kids “plugged in ” all the time, Rheingold’s book should be required reading in school.

  3. Thank you, Dana and Johnson, for your responses. It is always interesting to hear how others are dealing with the same issues that I am, and how they are handling them. 🙂

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