21st Century Misery

This article in Cracked by David Wong is the literal description of why I made the resolutions I made (EDIT: For the most part, that is... See the update below). I hadn't read it until today when Liz sent it over, and the only thought I had was "WOW. RIGHT Friggin' ON."

Read it if you'd like to get someone else's opinion on why I've changed my online behavior, or if you'd like to change your own.

*** Update 8:21AM***

You know how you read something, and there's one or two portions that really hit home - so hard that you feel like the entire article is exactly what you feel or want to say? Well, that's how it is with this article. So I'd like to clarify one point:

I don't mean to say that online relationships are meaningless, or that I don't value the people I've met and gotten to know. I think the more poignant parts of this article, for me, were the work-related portions... Building things, getting things done. For me personally, there is a component of this article that I agree with in regards to a purely digital relationship in and of itself. I WHOLEHEARTEDLY agree that getting out and meeting people in person is vital to the human relationship building process. It's a far more satisfying relationship when you can put a face to a name; when you can imagine someone smiling the way they smile and gesturing the way they gesture when you talk with them online. It's precisely the reason I love doing the book tours and MI meetups, and why I'm looking so forward to the Vegas Mentally Incontinent Meetup in April.

That said, if it weren't for IM and chat, I wouldn't have been able to keep up with so many of the people I consider friends - in fact, Liz (the person who sent me this article) and I maintained an entire 5 years of pure digital conversation and relationship building while she was away at college, and she's one of my best friends on this planet. But there's a portion of this rewarding relationship I have with her that wouldn't be there if we'd not met and gotten to know one another in the physical world as well. In fact, with every single MI'er and digital friend I've met in person, I feel that the relationship far more fulfilling after meeting. Not to say that knowing them in chats and IM sessions hasn't been rewarding... It's just been moreso once we hung out in person. You can't get around this fact - we humans are definitely hard-wired to relate to one another in person. You can emulate the gestures and subtleties of a conversation while in the digital realm with a colon and an end-parenthesis, but there's something about showing real teeth when you smile that just... Makes it.

But as far as the getting real work done portion... It's been 17 days, and the simple act of backing away from IM, Reddit, Fark, Digg, CNN, BBC, et al has done WONDERS for my productivity as a whole - and as a direct consequence, my overall happiness. I am most happy when I can look at something and say "Well, that's done." And I've said that more times in the past 17 days than I said the entire year of 2007. That's the part that made me say "Right Friggin' On." Out loud, even.