Have you ever had to keep a log of what you ate over the course of the week? Shit’s scary, isn’t it? Like, I know the things I put in my body are bad for me, but when it’s all listed out in front of me, sugars and calories and all that fun stuff in broad daylight, I can’t help but grimace at myself. Granted, nothing changes. As I’ve said, my body is not a temple, and I sort of just float by on my metabolism.

Now, apply the same situation to Internet usage. How often do you use it? What do you get on with? How long are your sessions? What spurs you to get on in the first place?

Scott Beale Photo CC-by Scott Beale, I wonder what proof this would be as an alcohol?

That’s the gist of an assignment done for my Digital Literacy class. I was asked to keep track of when I got on, why, how I felt, what I used, where I was, how long I was on, and what I did. The results are.. well, pretty mundane if you ask me.

Almost always, I use the Internet sitting down. Strange observation, sounds redundant, but it was part of what needed to be tracked. Whether killing time in my seat before a class, in my “nest” at home (on the couch next to Ms. Fish), or sitting and loafing on my friend’s couch, I’m almost always sitting, preferably with my feet up, in a relaxed, somewhat-slouching state.

It’s always my phone, too. Rarely ever my laptop, unless I’m doing homework for this class. Since I’ve gotten a smartphone, I like to pretend my dependency / attachment to the Internet has lessened – after all, I’m no longer on my computer all the time, right? Right? 95% of the time, it’s my smartphone that provides my window to the web. It was usually routine-like. I’d check Facebook, check my e-mail, and when done with what I abstractly considered “obligations,” I’d get on Reddit and read up about the video games I’m currently playing or anticipating the release of. Plus an occasional Cracked article or four. It was almost never to do homework, never for the sake of research – very little more than mindless meandering.

Eris Stassi Photo CC-by Eris Stassi, how many people do you think would go broke?

One thing that did vary that I found somewhat interesting, was the temperament that spurred me to get on the web. This is all over the place. For before class sessions, it would be boredom, or rather, anticipation – kill time, squeeze as much leisure and idiocy as I can in before having to actually engage my brain.

With friends or at home, it’s boredom, or perhaps even routine. Few minutes with nothing to do before leaving? E-mail. Just wake up in the morning and sitting trying not to die? Facebook! Friends all on their phones or respective devices being a collective hive-minded vegetable? Reddit!

The most fascinating one to me was my usage of the Internet when angry. Sometimes life deals you a shitty hand, and you don’t get a re-draw. You just deal. Often, in my post-anger cool-down phase, I would whip out my phone and scroll / click furiously. Anything, any distraction I can get, I need my brain off. That consists of either auto-piloting and clicking wherever I can, or attempting to overload myself with needless information until my brain goes into “CRITICAL OVERLOAD” and shuts itself off.

It’s been an interesting little experiment. It’s helped me see how much of a creature of habit I can be – and what I need to do differently in terms of coping with certain events. Maybe if I’m bored I should carry a book around with me instead of read about the fact that PREDATOR IS IN THE NEW MORTAL KOMBAT GAME OMGOMGOMG

Erm. Anyway, when angry, maybe I just need to sit and disconnect for a second – turn my brain off the old fashioned way and meditate or just grapple with my irritations head-on. Or maybe I’m just reading too much into this and will do literally nothing to change my behavior. I wonder if there’s a sub-reddit on this.

Habitus

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Comments
  1. I use MyFitnessPal.com to track what I eat – vigilance = weight loss for me. I wonder if there will need to be a site like that but for the internet.

    “Hi, my name is Vicky. I’m an internet junky.”

  2. I too see myself getting on the internet in states of anger and sometimes it helps but other times I feel depressed after I get on there when I am angry. I found that I was on the internet a lot just for no reason at all just to have something to do. I have come to realize from this assignment that I need to let go the internet more and spend time with my family. I think the same way will there be a site for people who are internet junkies.

    • jamcfarland says:

      I do my best when I’m around friends and family to avoid the net, unless everyone around me is partaking – then I figure, “well, why not?”

      There are definitely times where getting on the Internet angry is a bad plan. I’m more inclined to make angry Facebook statuses or blog posts, and I might see certain articles or other kinds of posts that just make it worse.

  3. I know how it is to have a Cracked addiction. It’s the reason I didn’t get a lot accomplished senior year of high school.

    It’s weird to see how much I get accomplished on days that I’m not constantly checking my phone. Like my morning routine? Takes like half an hour less when I’m not making sure all of my Sims are inspired and headed to work (I take care of Sims because it’s easier than taking care of myself). That being said, even if I have that extra half hour in the morning, I usually waste it by just like, staring at the wall (literally). So internet and smartphones are a distraction, but really, who wants to be productive all day long?

    • jamcfarland says:

      I think we’re capable of being just as productive with our usage of technology – we just aren’t. There’s too many distractions, too much entertainment, it’s too easy to get sidetracked in the course of 5 clicks. I could be spending all the time on my laptop writing new stories. Instead, I’m scrolling through my Facebook feed and checking my e-mail.
      Nailed it.

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