My pal Maurits has closed his Facebook account. He felt it was becoming a chore, a burden and allowed too many extraneous people into his life. He said he wondered how many people would notice. At the time he told me all this – only two had.
At the same time, Claudia (The Accidental Chef) has decided to stop blogging for a while. She wants to recharge her writing batteries. Fair enough, but I notice this decision has come hot on the heels of criticism she received from a 'Professional Writer'. Now, she's a more traditional bird (in some ways) than I and she respects the opinion of academics. But his (apparently well-written, but) unkind comments, have made her question herself. She's doubting that what she writes is good enough for the world to read. She has kept journals as long as I have known her: and it never bothered her what anyone thought of those entries.
I have a couple of blogs. A Facebook account, a dormant twitter account and I'm linkd-in. I have wi-fi at home (which some bastard has been hacking into). I also carry a cell-phone – two when I am working for Positive Heroes. I don't have a blackberry – but that's just because I am not entitled to one on my very basic and archaic calling-plan in SA. (Plus I am cheap and don't want to spend a bunch of money 'trading-up' to one). Soon as I can, though, I will be back on the crack – carrying my email, facebook, blogs and the entire weight of the internet with me.
And I am wondering why? Is it because I want people to know what I am up to at all times: no it is not. Is it because I want people to be able to contact me at all times: hell no. I like being in touch with the friends I have in different parts of the world. Even if it is just in soundbites or updates. But I think Maurits has a point. I feel guilty when I haven't updated my status. Remiss when I haven't posted. I feel like I am letting someone, somewhere down.
So, my question is: has modern communication opened us up, only to bog us down?