Sunday, 8 June 2014

Modern Communication

Recently I had issues with my data.  For a couple of days I had no access to the internet.  Around the same time, someone commented to me that they had read my blog and couldn’t live the life we live.  This small comment affected me profoundly.  Both of these events have had me thinking deeply about modern communication methods and also the purpose of my blog.

I am a Facebook user and a blogger.  I use Facebook a lot.  I use it for my blog and I’m an administrator on a page for our environment group as well as having a personal account.  It’s a great tool for getting information out to the public, sharing facts of interest and for connecting with other locals with similar interests and lifestyles.
The trouble is, once I get on there, I start looking at my home page and can spend ages reading through peoples posts, memes and links.  I’m not comfortable with the amount of time I spend staring at screens.  We stopped watching telly ages ago but I’ve replaced evenings with Facebook instead over the last couple of years.

I grew up in the days of telephones that you actually had to dial…..  ones with round holes to put your finger in and pull around the dial…..  ones with cords attaching them to the wall.  There was no option back then of a cordless phone.   I had to have teenage conversations sitting in the entrance hall.  I used to close the lounge room door in an attempt at privacy but people were always wandering past.  When I reached an age where boys began to call, through sheer desperation I discovered that if I stretched the phone to the extent of its cord and opened the front door widely, I could slide the cord under it and feed the cord to the outside.  Many a lovesick conversation was had sitting on the front doorstep in the freezing cold but I had an element of privacy!
I’ve noticed, over the last ten years or so, that many people prefer you to text if they need a response to something.  Facebook is another quick method of communication that is often used.  It can be used to relay the same information to several people simultaneously, saving a need to call people.  Otherwise emails are the method of choice.

I’m assuming the reason this type of communication has become so popular is to avoid lengthy chats and the obligatory polite small talk while organising our daily lives.  But what are we doing with all this extra time?  I feel busier than I ever have!  Are we saving time with modern communication only so we can squash more activities and projects into our lives?  Maybe we're busier because our social circles are much larger due to our tech savvy communication methods?   I don’t know but I do know  I prefer to speak to someone in person.  My mobile phone is antiquated so it takes me ages to write a text.  It’s much easier to just speak my message and, if I have a little chat along the way, then I see it as a bonus.
I could buy a newfangled phone so that I could easily and quickly type texts but then I would just get further drawn into this time-sucking method of chat.  Then I would have Facebook on hand everywhere I went.  I would be tempted to have a peek!  It seems I’m not very disciplined because the obvious answer would be to put a time limit on my computer usage.  I have tried to do this in the past but can’t resist sneaking ‘just a quick look’ at what is happening online.
Throughout these thought processes, I was also wondering if my blog was a waste of time. Id like to picture my blog being somewhere people could look to get ideas to address climate change on a personal level. Nobody wants to deliberately bring the human race to an end yet there are so many people who’s behaviour would lead you to think that's exactly what they're trying to do!  My belief is they don’t understand the urgency surrounding climate change or understand how to live with a less damaging environmental impact.  That's what I'd like to address with my blog.  So when this lovely lady (and she really is lovely) commented that my lifestyle was too hard, I worried that my blog was putting people off.  Imagine if I, in trying to reach my objective, was writing in such a way that I actually convinced people not to try!  I find the issue of consumerism and the environmental damage it causes, so concerning  that I do often get a bit preachy and high-horsish.  I find it hard not to sound preachy when it comes to a choice between someone exercising the right to own unnecessary material goods over a future for my children and those who will follow them.  To me it's black and white.
So I’ve not blogged much recently.  However I’ve ruminated heaps!   And I’ve decided the main reason I blog is because I love it!  I’ve always liked to write.  I’ll never be an amazing writer (though wish I was) and I’m not aspiring to be.  I just enjoy writing.  I also think it’s a fantastic way to keep a family record.  I enjoy the connections I’ve made here and the way bloggers help each other out when we can.  I love each and every comment that is left by people who have read my posts.  It gives me a real boost when someone takes the time to interact with me.   And I finally decided that while most of my followers are already converts, there may be someone, somewhere, someday who finds ideas or information here that inspires them to live more lightly.

I don’t know what the Facebook answer is.  I think it’s a necessary evil at this point in my life but I don’t love it in the same way that I do my blog.
Do you struggle with how your internet time should best be spent?



Dani said...

"there may be someone, somewhere, someday who finds ideas or information here that inspires them to live more lightly"

That is exactly what spurs me on. I too, have my soap box moments, and fear that on occasion I may have come across as lecturing, but there is no "nice" way to get the message across, is there?

Reaching just one other person, and helping them to adjust their lifestyle and footrptint is all I ask, and hope to achieve.

Cheryl said...

Firstly, I'm relieved, relieved to know you are not quitting your blog! Those who read may be converts, but we still need the inspiration and motivation to travel this path, we all know how hard and lonely it can be, and that's what I get from your blog.

Secondly don't take comments too personally or literally, someone was just expressing their opinion, like you do when you blog, they may not be able to live your whole life, but they wouldn't be reading if they didn't incorporate some of what you do into theirs, and that's a win!

Lastly...don't feel too guilty about the Facebook thing, I think we all suffer from it, I'm just as guilty of doing it too, but there is just so much good information "out there" even if you peek at the unnecessary stuff along the way. I've taken to watching/listening to garden shows and TedX talks while I eases my conscience! LOL

As long as the necessary stuff gets done during the day, why can't we have a little down time of an evening. :) { Sorry for the long reply, I should have phoned...but I don't have your number, which is another reason we text/blog/facebook...a lot of us are cyber else would we communicate!}

That is all LOL :)

Kim said...

Our lifestyle looks 'hard' to the people who are not at that stage of life yet. I know many people who shook their head at me, kept eating all their processed food etc ( and lovely , good people too) who have years later told me that it was how we lived that actually helped them turn the corner in their lives , though they had laughed at it earlier.
So continue to live and write about the wonderful life you live because there are people who soak up your wisdom and long to live the life you do.
And yes too much online stuff, I am learning myself to cut back. We use face book just as a business page for the farm stay .
And like one of your other comment people said, my comment is way too long -but how lovely that we can connect and reassure one another along the way as we bake our bread, and tend our gardens.x

JohnandJean said...

I could see that there was a competition for who could make the longest comment and thought I might try to win the prize.

Writing for yourself is the best approach. It makes it a pleasure, it helps you hone your skill and it is justification enough. The by products are it improves your mind (some rsearch indicates communication in this form is better than Sudoku or Crosswords) and it may help others improve their life style or behaviour (but just don't count on it).

Self control with time spent on this persuit is an issue for many of us. It is difficult to break away when you are in full swing. I do mine in the early mornings and use Jean's stirrings as the alarm to break away and get on with the day.

As for other people finding your life style difficult or hard. Everyone who says that will have a different underlying reason.

Some are just too set in their ways. Life is a particular routine which has developed over time and varying from that routine is near impossible. It is inertia not laziness. New challenges require mental and physical effort and if you aren't used to it it is like exercise for the first time just painful and impossibly hard work. These are the unlucky ones. They have never had a regular upheavel in their lives which forces a lowering of the threshold for change (or raising the threshold for pain). Nothing like life's regular boot in the rear to get you moving.

Some are just not interested, do not care, or do not believe. You could add into this group those who think it's all over any way so why bother.

Some feel the same way as yourself but are looking to you for inspiration, ideas and guidance to help them change. They would love to change and just need a little shove to make that first step. Keep working on them.

And then there are others who don't find your lifestyle difficult or hard and are comforted in knowing they are not alone in their pursuits.

I'll just hop out of the saddle now and let you have it back.

Margaret said...

Thank you for "preaching to the chior" I am vegetarian, buy most of my food at the farmers market, grow some, make compost, have very little garbage, spend Very little at the local independant supermarket (don't support the big ones) make my own bread, soap, laundry liquid etc.
yesterday I made your handsoap, to put in my foam producing bottle, as this saves heaps of soap and is easy and quick to wash off, saving water as well,so yes your readers may be on the path, but we can all learn something new along the way.
So thank you, keep on keeping on.

Linda said...

Dani, thanks for sharing. Nice to know I'm not the only one who has soap box moments!

Cheryl, LOL! I must admit all day I'm busy, busy, busy. So at night I do like to zombie out with fb. I just think it would be nice to disconnect sometimes. Our lives are so real in most ways but the outside rubbish reaches me through fb.

Oh yes Kim! The connections we make through blogging have been priceless to me over the last few years. I learnt so much early on and felt supported at a time when I was stuck at home with little ones when they were toddlers.

Oh john you made me laugh! You are right. I can't know about people's motivations. Must work harder on my self control though!

Margaret, thank you! It's nice to know that you enjoyed that recipe. And yes, we can enjoy connecting (and preaching) to each other!

purplepear said...

I also go through times of wondering what I'm trying to do with my blog. I'm not a great writer and never will be, it's not my passion. And so I stopped for a while thinking that no one is really interested in what goes on. And then I started getting feedback. People missed my posts. People that never comment but love to read the blog. So then I just started posting again. There are people out there who may not yet be ready for the full on simple living lifestyle but most like reading about those who are, and if we can be a positive influence in their lives with the smallest thing then that's worthwhile isn't it? My youngest daughter lives in Melbourne so I include snippets of family stuff too. So even if no one is interested in the day to day simple living tips i may share the blog is a journal of the farm and the family. Just know Linda that you're doing a great job and sharing some really great info.

Anonymous said...

I closed my facebook account around 2 years back. I HAD to! I too couldn't limit myself to just 5 minutes or even just 50. I was spending all day on there and with me pushing to make our tree-change I realised I wasn't able to live the life I wanted and stay on facebook. I miss it at times and I know I miss out on some family news (no-one bothers to call to share as they figure I should be on Facebook)and some activities in our localcommunity butone friend in town emails me the facebook news relevant so it's not too bad.
I realised I had/have replaced facebook with blogs but after removing the blog app from my phone I am much less connected. I've also pruned downt he blogs I follow to those who are truly relevant. about 95% have something to teach or a joint experience to share and I can learn from them all. We have goats, grow veggies, home school etc hence I love your blog and I'm in awe of your life and lifestyle by the way and love that you share the same experiences that we are going through.
I think your commenters comment may have been in awe of your lifestyle too. I remember telling a friend I could never ever home school and do what she does. About 3 years later and I am doing exactly that! You may be more of an inspiration and guide than you think. :)

Suzie Simplelife said...

Hi Linda..I follow your blog and check in each time you post...I think the message you are sending is essential..everyone needs to look at what is happening around them and make changes. I don't use facebook....not a fan of that type of social media but I do love to blog and share experiences and ideas with others...Personally I love how you live and and find your blog very inspirational.

Chris said...

Let's just say, I've never been attracted to Facebook so it's never been a problem for me. But on the other hand, I do like to read blogs and that can be time consuming too.

I think you got to the nub of it all though, realising that you blog for the enjoyment of it. Once I discovered that too, it made blogging a more flexible affair.

I often feel sad when people close their blogs down (though I completely understand when they have to) but I often miss reading about their adventures. It's rare to find a good blog about living on the land (even if that land is a small allotment) so when they close permanently, it leaves a hole.

Which is why I keep blogging - not because I think my blog is particularly good, but others looking to live closer to the land themselves, are encouraged by reading how others experience it.

I want to keep a milking animal at one stage (I hope) and so I enjoy reading about others experiences - like yours. Even if I never get to keeping a milking animal of our own, at least I got to read how someone else experienced it. :)

Ali M said...

so glad you have decided to keep on blogging! I don't live the exact lifestyle as you do but I love hearing about your adventures, personal issues, family life and about the simple life..i feel we share the same values and that is why I keep coming back.
p.s yes I do spend some unnecessary time on facebook but I have learnt a lot, tried different things that I usually wouldn't. I use it as an "investigation tool" I follow certain blogs/pages that I can learn from, share the same interests and values..

Farmer Liz said...

I don't have much to add to the other thoughtful comments except that even those of us who already live simply can still learn plenty from each other, so keep sharing Linda! And i'm sure you inspire far more people than you put off.

Jess64 said...

I read your blog, but have never commented. I sit somewhere along the path. My circumstances mean that I can't live the way you do, but we are making changes in location. I love your blog and pick up many little ideas along the way.
I have taken to block Facebook during the parts of they day I don't want to use it so it doesn't suck me in. I obviously have no self control.

Jenna King said...

I've taken on the challenge of working out how to respond on your blog because I so wanted to comment on this! I also spend time pondering the wonder that is communication, and why things are done so differently now - I remember being extremely offended by the assumption that if you had a mobile phone, you would be contactable on it any time of day. Even during a lunch break! And I'm also drawn to fb posts, but have limited myself by cleansing my friends list, allowing myself limited times (morning and night) to check it, and opening tabs for further reading later on articles I think would be interesting to me - once there are too many tabs open, I delete the ones that I've not read on the grounds that they can't be THAT great if they've been open a week. I also use it as a means of communication, and love your blog and posts, because they encourage me. As I do a couple of blogs. People "outgrow" ideas that don't appeal to them, and they'll move on if it doesn't suit them anymore, but there'll always be more that it does suit, that find your ideas inspiring. But most of all, as you say, you do it for you and yours. I find that when I post things on fb that are really just for me, I don't look for a response but often get unexpected ones. In the meantime, we have little "time wasters" that are relaxing or interesting to us, and surely that's ok? I work on finding fb an allowable, controlled relaxation that yields me a net benefit, that being interesting articles or ideas I would otherwise miss. Please don't stop blogging :) xx

Linda said...

Kate, I love your writing style. And you make a very good point. I know Lou Lou is a regular reader here as is my mum.

Rabidlittlehippy The comment was definitely not a negative comment. Just got me thinking about whether I was portraying the simple life as daunting. As for face book, at this point in time face book is too useful a tool to let go. We use it in groups for exchanging goods, sharing information, to advertise local workshops etc. I would love to disconnect like you one day though.

Suzie, thank you. You are right. It's so important that we make changes. I suppose we all inspire each other, don't we.

Hi Chris, Thanks for your encouragement. And yes, flexibility is what is all comes down to I guess. We can only do what we have time for.

Ali, thank you. It's nice to read all these lovely comments and knowing you enjoy reading my blog.

Thanks Liz, So many nice comments from everyone!

Hi Jess, Welcome and thanks for commenting. I'm glad you enjoy the blog and that you've found useful ideas. That makes me feel good!

Jenna, Wow! Welcome. I love your tip about opening to read later. Your right, I can just delete later if I haven't come back to it. I need a method! Thanks for commenting.

Fiona from Arbordale Farm said...

Linda it is your blog and people should take from it what they want and leave the bits they don't for the rest of us who love it all.