Vandermeer on the Internet

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Worldly advice from someone very aware of reality:

(6) Understand the negative aspects of the internet and manage your behavior accordingly. Negative aspects of the internet and our electronic lives include: being trained in Pavlovian fashion to check our email every five seconds, having our Instant Messenger up 24-7, and writing on laptops where we can be interrupted at any moment. Some of these aspects of (post)modern life affect our attention span. Others turn perfectly viable tactics into an unsupportable and detrimental overall strategy. In all things, balance is required. As a writer, I feel the greatest dangers of the internet are (1) equating the constant appearance of new information and new correspondence with a requirement to immediately reply/be instantly available and (2) the constant, daily loss of uninterrupted time not only to write but to think about writing. Many writers and others who depend on the internet find themselves controlled by their involvement with the electronic world, without even realizing it. They still think they are in charge, but they are not: their tactics have become their strategy. If this addiction were an addiction to, for example, alcohol, the results would be obvious and the reaction of friends and society corrective. But when it comes to the internet, we’re nearly all addicted, and we receive so much instant gratification without understanding or monitoring the attendant dangers that we often do not even realize what we may have lost.

Thank you for making me painfully aware of my own addictions (so says the man who is writing this at 1:28 AM to be posted at 9:30 AM on the same day).

(Don’t click the read more, there isn’t any more after this!)

About the Author:

Shaun Duke is an aspiring writer, a reviewer, and an academic. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Digital Rhetoric and Writing at Bemidji State University. He received his PhD in English from the University of Florida and studies science fiction, postcolonialism, digital fan cultures, and digital rhetoric.

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