We’ve been seeing each other for a long time now. Remember when we met? I was researching something for a high school essay. WWII? Shakespeare? Kittens? I can’t remember, but I asked you for info and you had only five websites on the topic. Back then, you were slow, not very helpful and clingy – if I was hanging out with you, I couldn’t even use the phone! Then you upgraded from dial-up to broadband, and our relationship improved. Not only were you faster and less clingy, you introduced me to Hotmail and Messenger, and suddenly we were having tons of fun, chatting with friends and forwarding funny emails into the wee hours of the night. Those years were the best! You kept me connected to loved ones, expanded my world and helped me become the woman I am now, but in the last several years, things changed…
It started with Facebook. Sure, I was already hooked on email and was a regular Skype user by this point, but those habits were under control. I could go all day without seeing you for a fix. But Facebook was different. Friends who were already using warned it was a time-suck. Some even claimed it would take over my life! So I stayed away, but soon everyone was doing it and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I was missing out, and like every twentysomething-year-old I suffered from FOMO. It wasn’t long before I caved and tried Facebook too.
And now here we are, seven years later, and I’m the one who’s become clingy. I’m constantly checking up on you and seeing what you’re doing. I can’t get enough of your Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and minute-by-minute weather updates. I’m spending hours a day with you, neglecting work, friends and family. I’ve tried to quit you, going places where you can’t find me, creating “No Internet” time slots, but you’re just so irresistible and easy. Yes, easy. I said it. Remember when you used to play hard to get? Sometimes I’d have to wait minutes for you to dial-up and connect! Because of that, I made sure every second we spent together was significant. Now I just roll over and there you are, on like always. Sometimes I don’t even want you, but I do it anyways just because you’re available.
Internet, we need to reevaluate our relationship. Please don’t freak out. I’m not breaking up with you, but I do think we’re spending too much time together. I believe if I pursued other interests, it would strengthen our bond. For instance, remember how I went to Cuba for two weeks last winter and you couldn’t come? I know you missed me, but when I returned we had so much to share and do together! I had photos to post on Facebook, emails to send, and even a blog to write!
I think what I’m saying, Internet, is that if we spend time apart, we’ll have more fun when we’re together. I’ll be a more well-rounded person and a better partner. I won’t cling to you when I’m lonely, or bore you with what I had for breakfast, or blame you when I don’t achieve my goals, because I’ll be out in the world living my life and pursuing my dreams. And when I come home I’ll be eager to share it all with you!
Don’t think this is your fault, Internet. I know you’ve been told in the past that you’re a bad influence, and sometimes you are, but there’s more to you than online addictions and lost time. You’re also full of knowledge and useful advice and great connections, so to quote Rick Astley, I’m never gonna give you up! I just need a bit of space.
That said, from now on I’ll connect with you for a couple hours in the morning and the evening. The rest of the day is me-time. Thanks for understanding, Internet. You’re the best!
PS – Please stop sending my boyfriend so many cute baby animal videos. He has to get work done too.
FOMO = “fear of missing out” for those of you not addicted to the Internet.
Next Up from Heather… All my friends are getting married and having babies this year, so clearly that means I have to give birth to a novel. Not like I haven’t been trying! Maybe it’s time to change my writing strategy… But I might not be ready to talk about that. So perhaps next week’s post will be Concrete Tips For Keeping Out Of The Internet’s Pants.
But then I read a Bookends piece in the New York Times that made me mad, so first I have to rant about this: Is TV the New Novel?