Offline for 5 Days

I spent the last five days offline…going north to rescue my wife from 4 weeks of grandmothering in New England with our two daughters and (one each) grandchildren. She had a ball, but was also pretty tired and ready to come home.

So arriving back home, I turned on the computer for the first time since Tuesday evening, cleared junk out of my email and read those that needed reading, and then turned to my Google Reader.

Unread – 1000+

As my grandson would say, “Whoaaaaaaaaa!”

Turned out, it was kind of interesting to see a macro view of RSS feeds. I quickly clicked “Mark All as Read” the 450+ news items, the 300+ technology items, 228 delicious network feeds (I’ll check those in delicious later), and the dozen alumni items. I then turned to the important stuff:

Twenty-two I CAN HAZ CHEEZBURGER posts! <lol>

A dozen business blog posts – scanned those.

Sixty-nine education blog posts – scanned those.

There was an interesting juxtapositioning in my blog feeds. Jennifer Jones – a bright educator whose blog I love – noted in “Hello, My Name is Jen” that she had checked out of Twitter and unsubscribed to everything in her RSS reader (update – Jen has now made her post PRIVATE to lower the attention being paid to it). She explained in one of her comments:

…when I first started thinking about it, it seemed so dramatic. I really didn’t want to be seen as a drama queen, which is one reason I didn’t really say anything. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized my attachment to it <Twitter> wasn’t healthy. I love that I met you and all the others through Twitter. I love that I can ask a question and get a dozen responses. I don’t love that I’m not doing the work for myself any more. I don’t love that it matters to me how many followers I have. I don’t love that my ego thinks it’s important for people to know what I’m eating or the music I choose for my commute. I don’t love that of the 900 people following me, probably 850 have never introduced themselves. I deleted my account 5 days ago and only a few people even noticed. I like that!

Wow! (…and Jen, I did not notice because I was offline!)

Yet I understand some of the emotions she is struggling with. As I have noted before, the past year of blogging, Twittering, and commenting has been transformational for me, and I would suggest that it was the social connections that made it transformational. I am still struggling with the implications beyond my little sphere of influence … and in particular, in my classes – but I do feel that impacts are occuring. I did not even twitch when I saw 1000+ unread. I just said “Whoaaaaaaaaaa!”…but with a smile on my face!

In another blog, Ken Allan of New Zealand asked “Calling all Bloggers – When Do You Blog?” In reality, Ken was being very open in his attempt to refine and improve his own craft of blogging and social networking, and I am learning a lot from the questions he asks. He also posted a wonderful post on “Five Explanations of a Zen Proverb” – the proverb being “When the Student is Ready, the Master Appears.”

I fully understand Jen’s desire to disconnect … and did so myself for 5 days. But I also feel that undefinable energy that social connections are making in my life, my teaching, and my career, so – in a very Zen-like way, I am now enjoying resubmerging myself into the Web 2.0 stream. One can easily be overwhelmed by the gush of information flowing in the stream, but one can also find calm in new knowledge, new connections, and new friendships – such as the one Ken and I now enjoy! I hope Jen finds peace. As for myself….

The student is ready……….

{Photo Credit: timtak}

2 thoughts on “Offline for 5 Days

  1. Thanks for linking! I move the post to private, because it was causing too much drama. Let me know if you want the text from it to paste here 🙂

  2. Kia ora Britt!

    I admire your wisdom in clearing your Reader – I do the same from time to time. What goes round comes round – if there are any posts of note there, you will quickly learn about them from other posts 🙂 .

    Thanks for the links! I am experimenting at the moment as well as blogging (isn’t that what bloggers do?) – trying to figure out how my Google Analytics works. It’s still all a bit of a mystery to me.

    Ka kite

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