Monday, January 21, 2013

Addicted to the Internet? by Barbara Edwards

Am I addicted to the internet? I scoffed at my husband when he said yes. I work on my computer I insisted. I don’t play video games or text. My use of Facebook is for promoting my writing personae and my books, not to be social as in chat with friends. I tweet about my friends’ blogs or new books, not my dog or cat. I have my books listed on GoodReads, Shelfari and LibraryThing and belong to a few groups devoted to reading.
I use Triberr as a huge timesaver to keep my contacts active and I limit it to one visit a day.
Am I addicted to the internet? When I was hacked I discovered, to my horror, that I am. If you call going into cold sweats when I couldn’t connect a problem.
Oh yeah. I realized I needed that daily dive into the wide wide world of cyberspace. I couldn’t concentrate on other things like writing my book or blog. My contact list was gone. I was essentially alone on a cold plane of reality.
This is not a funny as it sounds. For four days I frantically worked to get my loops and groups back into my life. I had a temper tantrum. I ate continuously. On the fifth day I realized I was acting like a nut. I hadn’t written anything productive in days. The real focus of my life, my writing, had somewhere gotten lost in the shuffle and I sat down for a long look at my work habits.
I used to get on my computer right after breakfast and write until lunch. Most days I did housework, exercise or fun stuff in the afternoon. I didn’t work on the weekends, choosing to do stuff with my family. That had changed. I got on the internet. I spent anywhere from an hour to two or three daily. Even weekends have become a part of the cyber-flow.
What should I do?
For one thing, I’ve written more on my book in the last week than I have in the past month. I let my groups and loops slide. I’m not sure what’s happening and although I miss my contact with on-line friends I’m refocusing.
I made a couple decisions about time on the net. I visit Triberr before breakfast. It’s quicker that early and I’m off in less than 20 minutes. I am slowly revisting the sites I joined to promote my books and taking a look at each. If I’m not using it to my benefit why am I there? What is the most efficient use? Often I don’t know and I shake my head. What am I doing?
As to my addiction, I recognized I have a problem. I am limiting the time I spend on the net by putting a limit on its use.
The best thing I’ve done is to make a list of places that need attention and the time I will devote to each. This is a serious work in progress.
Are you also in denial? Are you addicted to the internet?

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Margo Hoornstra said...


More excellent advice from you. Look at the service you've performed today. Lucky us to be able to search deeply into the souls of our internet lives without having been hacked. I, for one, would like to thank you.

Barbara Edwards said...

I'm glad my blog helped you, Margo. You're welcome.

Jannine Gallant said...

My girls say I'm addicted. Maybe it's true, but my excuses sound a lot like yours. I spend about an hour each morning doing promo - tweeting and commenting on FB, reading a few (very few) blogs and commenting, answering email, checking to see if my sales rank went up or down on Amazon. Okay that last one is probably completely unnecessary (and depressing!) Then I write. When I need a short break, I check email and FB. I probably do this WAY to often. Time to take a hard look at my habits!

Barbara Edwards said...

I knew I was addicted when I couldn't make myself do something else. Scary to lose control.