The 7 Habits of Highly Connected People. I thought it would be descriptive, but it came off as prescriptive.
First, there is my personal take. I don’t like to waste time either, but I see my inability to waste time as a personal failing, not a valuable attribute. My inability to relax, to just do nothing for awhile, is probably shortening my life. In the last decade,the web has succeeded in filling any gaps I may have had (though I don’t recall ever having any) — it just gives me another way to be busy.
The variety of possible connections on the internet is overwhelming — I sometimes wonder whether that alone is the foundation of connectivism theory. Studies note that time on the internet is cutting into people’s sleeping and eating, not just their reading and reflecting. The web is an endless source of things to do, things to learn, people to meet. All night long. All the next day. All weekend. Till your typing fingers rot off.
Second, there are issues of personal relationship. Connections with other people are important. When they are tenuous, consisting primarily of weak ties, they are not very satisfying over a long period of time. This happens a lot with networks over the internet, which we enter and exit as it serves us. It’s like going to a buffet every night. It’s wonderful at first to have such a variety, but if it’s every night you eat too much and get overweight, and eventually wish someone would bring you just one thing to eat.
That’s not to say that deep connections cannot be formed and nurtured on the internet — of course they can. But being always connected seems inefficient. You will certainly meet more people, but the amount of time and energy left for deeper connections is reduced.
Last, there is the social dimension: the opportunities missed to connect with people in person. It’s good to talk to others, participating in that boring f2f meeting to make it less boring and more productive, meeting someone new on the bus, finding commonalities among people who happen to occupy the same real-world place you’re in. And, as should be obvious from my previous posts, I have concerns about the implication that individualized networks are the best thing since sliced bread, when I see real potentional for them to lead us into lives full of echo chambers and a lack of connection to those who differ from us. Because whoever I meet on the internet, they may be individually diverse, but they are part of one big group: people who meet on the internet. Millions of people are not on the internet. Some never were, some are philosophically opposed to it, and some have been active members but are leaving to get their “real life” back after internet addiction. I’d never meet them if I stuck my head in my laptop when I went out in the world.