Final Confession of My Internet Addiction
Something seems to be slipping away. What is it? I forget. Most days the feeling is persistent: Where is it? What am I looking for? I can’t remember, so I sit on my side of the couch and put the computer on my lap, idly. Maybe if I see what everyone else is doing, I’ll remember what I’m supposed to be doing.
When I’m on the Internet, I’m reading constantly. A couple times a day I’ll read all of an article, but more often than not I’m reading 2 to 20 words at a time. Tiny, bite-sized chunks – little snacks all day. And the words are so small, physically. I realized recently (for the first time since getting an iPhone a few months ago) how much smaller the text is on a device than in a book or magazine. The difference is this thing is small and in your palm so it’s easy to just pull it really close to your face without thinking about it. I think it’s hurting my eyes, but I’ve only gotten a few headaches so far.
WHAT IS IT?
I know what one of the fading things is: my handwriting. I just had to re-write the word “handwriting” because I made an egregious, illegible cursive mistake. The thing I write most is my signature on debit card receipts, which increasingly looks like this:
(I may think mine is bad, but have you seen the handwriting of a high-schooler recently? I hate to generalize, knowing only a handful of teenagers, but their handwriting seems to be much worse.) I’ll inevitably type this up to transmit it [just dotted a “T”], because if it’s not typed, you can’t google the words in it.
CHECK MY EMAIL.
A few weeks ago, I had a paranoid freak-out and deleted all the personal information on my Facebook page – my gender, age, job, marital status, likes, etc. When it came to deleting my family members (Facebook has an area where you can designate who is in your family and what their relationship is to you), I hesitated. Didn’t delete those. Maybe it is because some of these relationships “happen,” in a practical sense, more often on Facebook than in real life. Mostly what went through my mind was, “I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.”
I think the purge was inspired around the time when Facebook’s stock went public [just misspelled “when”]. There was a quote circulating at that time that said something to the effect of, “Facebook is not a service. It does not seek to benefit you, it only seeks to sell you. You are the only product Facebook has ever had.” That resonated with me, but a variety of justifications prevented me from deleting my account altogether. What about the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street movements? Weren’t those enabled by the presence of social networks? And I’ve read a lot of interesting articles shared by my friends educating me about the world and its discontents [just misspelled “about” and “misspelled”]. I’ve been able to stay in the lives of people I rarely see who mean a lot to me and keep up with their doings. As a musician, I also have booked shows, entire tours, since increasingly I don’t have people’s email addresses or phone numbers.