I pressed pause on my Internet use. It was simple and appropriate. I did it for two days, without fanfare, without having to post and notify. I did it without really planning for it – it was an intuitive response to needing to attend to family and self in a way that did not include me sitting in front of a computer screen. I was not hard core either, I did a few quick checks to see if there was anything urgent and left it at that. I think intuitively, comfortably, consciously pressing pause, letting go, letting flow and playing are all part of being fluent in Internet Lingo.
Skillfully parlaying in Internet includes knowing important things will resurface if they are critical and believing that it is essential to live life with heart and connection to self, family, friends and nature.
“I added and subtracted voices from my attention network, listened and followed, then commented and opened conversations.”
– Howard Rheingold commenting on PLNs
I think it is essential to be aware of our role as stewards of our own attention networks. As responsible adults we have an obligation to assist youth in becoming skilled stewards of their attention networks. Skilled use includes pressing pause from time to time.
In, The Secret to Digital Sanity, Shelly Hayduk claims, “You should be able to jump in and out of the flow as your time permits with full knowledge and comfort of the fact that the flow will always be there. It rarely goes away.” [emphasis in the original]
One of the biggest ‘learnings’ for me in coming to terms with, and working towards, being skillful in Internet Lingo is recognizing when letting go and letting flow is appropriate. The release may be triggered either by a desire or need to engage and respond to my non-digital life or it may be initiated by my response to the Internet.
When I try to navigate and respond to the Internet by only using the meta-lanuages of speech, writing, math and scientific method, I find that often my expectations do not align with what I am experiencing. If I take a fairly linear approach, thinking that I can comprehensively absorb or connect dots with what I already know I quickly find that there are too many choices, possible directions, and things to be taken into consideration. Being methodical and trying to deal thoroughly with one aspect before moving onto the next does not work particularly well – it is a reflection of my trying to use old methods with new technology. There is a mismatch – neither one works well and I become overwhelmed. The Internet is liquid not solid. To navigate I need to swim, to take flow into consideration – or as Marshal McLuhan would say, “to use my wit“. Internet Lingo demands navigation by improvisation. When I begin to feel that too much is happening I need to let go. Giving myself permission play, to let go, or to press pause is appropriate and results in the creation of a personal, healthy Internet ecology!!
I think it is really critical that we understand and become fluent in Internet Lingo so that we can knowledgeably set our boundaries and determine where our comfort level is with regards to how permeable our Internet/non-Internet periphery is.
For a post in a similar spirit, see http://pcrcr.wordpress.com/2014/02/23/a-slow-mooc-movement-2/ for gradations of online involvement, especially #6 in http://bit.ly/1dQJh8p .
Such an important skill, and will be more and more as we become more dependent on the “always on” society. I’m not sure how we would go about teaching this skill, but I think knowing where that balance point is will change the way that we interact with each other through our technology.
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