Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The 100th post

On August 12, 2011, I started this blog. It was going to be an exercise in diligence and intentionality and not giving up too soon.

That's why it's tough to be here, 1 year, 100 posts, and over 5000 page views later, talking about setting this project aside for a while. And yet, that's what I'm here to do.

One of my favorite authors loves to talk about life's seasons. And while that word always gives me a funny, squirmy feeling, I can't deny that it's a very accurate way to describe how life works. The cycles, the changes, the sunny times and the rainy ones–life has a very seasonal way of happening, and right now, I'm preparing to enter a new season.

In many ways, yes, it's back-to-school as usual–but this year is different. It's the final countdown. It's eight months of time to spruce-up my resume and seriously, what am I going to do when I graduate? It's senior thesis projects and last hoorahs. It's my last chance to enjoy being a "college kid" before venturing out into the big, wide world. 

And it's not something I want to miss out on because I'm stuck behind my computer.

Because, you see, in being so intentional about blogging for the past year, I allowed myself to become very unintentional in other areas of my life–one of the biggest ones being my relationships with people. As an introvert, I am naturally challenged when it comes to spending time with people and building relationships. I love me some alone time. 

So when I can tell myself I need to blog it only makes it that much easier for me to be selfish with my time.

This year, I don't want to live in the comfort of my little blogging bubble. I want to spend time building people up, not just hoping someone might be affected by what they read on my blog. I want to connect with people in real life, not through retweets and reposts and repins. 

But then there's also that inner voice telling me I'm committing social media suicide–telling me if I stop now, I'll have to start back at the beginning when I decide to come back (which I fully intend to do someday). 

I keep silencing that voice with the knowledge that God is in control, and if it's in his plan for me to have a successful blog one, two, or ten years from now, he will make it happen, regardless of what I do in this moment. Like it says in Ecclesiastes 3, "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…a time to blog, and a time to stop blogging" (okay, so maybe I made up that last part). It's time to set aside the blogging thing for now, but I trust that God will do something amazing with all the extra time I'll have because of it. 

In general, I want to take a break from the whole "look at me, I'm on the internet!" thing. 

I've become so used to the idea that you need to be everywhere at all times in order to be relevant that I just keep shoving my life out into the cyber world, and I'm not even really sure why I do it or what it all means. I want this season to be one of real life, not virtual life. I want it to be one of social interaction, not social media. I'll have plenty of time to blog when I'm living alone in some obscure small town in middle-America because it's the only place I could find a job after graduation.

So no, this isn't goodbye, it's just see you later. I don't know when later is, but I have a feeling it will be sometime not too far after May 4, 2013. If you're my real-life friend, I look forward to seeing you in real life. And if you are a random person I don't know…well, first of all, thanks for reading, and second of all, I guess you'll have to live with 140 character updates for a while. 

It's been fun! I look forward to the day when we can be together again. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Friday Funny Business: Surplus Edition

Weird and interesting videos of the week:
A cool yet creepy look at augmented reality.
What English sounds like to people who don't speak English (pretty crazy!)

Amazing art of the week:
Most impressive use of a white board ever. 

Olympic goodies of the week:
Olympic non-events (a.k.a. the only ones I could compete in).
What the Olympics looked like in 1908.

Creative use of typefaces of the week:

Mumford & Sons fan-girl links of the week:
I knew I was missing out on something when I stopped keeping up with my YouTube subscriptions: Winston and Ben being hilarious.
And, thanks to the magic of YouTube, you can hear the early stages of Mumford's new single "I Will Wait." 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

On why I might like to be a computer hacker

  1. Hackers are smart.
  2. Hackers are sneaky.
  3. Hackers are anonymous. 
  4. Hackers fly solo. 
  5. Hackers can work from the comfort of their own homes, while wearing their pajamas if they so choose (which I would). 
  6. Hackers type really fast. At least, that's what Chuck led me to believe. 
  7. Based on what I see in movies and on TV, being a hacker seems just generally kinda cool. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Friday Funny Business: Olympic Edition

Infographic of the week:
How the world eats (and how much they spend to do it). 

Bonus infographic of the week:
How social media has changed since the Beijing Olympics. 

Food truck of the week:

Irrational thing that annoys me of the week: 
When people call binders notebooks. 

Humorous pictures of the week:

Silliest Olympic-related article of the week:

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Information Fast

When I was young, I feared that I would die before I was able to read every book I wanted to read in the library. 

Now, imagine taking that person with the inborn need to consume as much media and writing as possible, and showing her the Internet.

I think you can see the problem.

The same psychological trait that caused me to want to read as many good books as possible now drives my compulsive need to read everything I find on the Internet. Any headline that seems even remotely interesting is something I click on. Any link in the body of an article I'm reading is one that I follow. (We all know how easy it is to follow one link to another until you finally look up and realize you were supposed to start working on that one project 2 hours ago.) The Internet is a dangerous place for people who can't stop reading.

In an effort to break myself of this seemingly unquenchable desire to read everything I see, I took a break from Google Reader for the month of July. I follow a ton of blogs, and it was taking a considerable portion of time every day for me to get through my subscription list. As a point of reference, here's what awaited me when I logged in yesterday after my month off: 

616 unread posts! That's almost 20 blog posts a day that I normally would have read. That may not sound like a lot, but when you add in all the other things I spend waste time doing on the Internet every day (and account for the fact that I'm not speed-reader), 20 blog posts takes a decent amount of time to get through. Not to mention that it is probably not the best way I could be using my time. 

Sure, I follow some great blogs written by wise people with valuable things to say. But time is valuable too, and every minute I spend scrolling through my endless blog roll is a minute I could be doing something else–like reading a real book (I'm currently trying to work through this list), just one of many things I always want to do but find I "don't have time for." 

The fact of the matter is that I do have time for these things. I just waste it doing other, mostly empty things. 

It's so easy to be mindless on the Internet. To click from one link to the next without even realizing that time is passing and things you wanted to do aren't getting done. At the same time, schedules and time limits can seem so regimented and constricting. 

But which would I rather have? Complete freedom accompanied by a feeling of regret about never quite getting everything done, or a few simple rules and restrictions that help me stay focused on my bigger goals? 

When I look at it that way, the answer is easy: I want to get things done. I don't want to get to the end of the day, the week, the month, and realize I wasted most of my time reading articles and blog posts I no longer remember the message of. There is value in those things, yes, but just like everything else in life, it's all about moderation.

I don't have to read The Information Diet (though I plan to at some point) to know that I need to go on one. In the same way it takes a conscious effort for me to not eat an entire package of Oreos, I need to commit to making a conscious effort not to read every moderately interesting thing that shows up on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Reader (not to mention the Tumblrs and Pinterests of the world, which take time wasting to a totally new level). 

I went a whole month without checking Google Reader. Now I need to find a middle ground. I have a lot of things I want to accomplish, and breaking the world record for most time wasted on the Internet is not on the list. It's time to focus on the things that are.