Back from the Analoguesphere

by julianwiddows on April 11, 2011

I wrote this post over a week ago.  Sort of.

I wrote a draft of this post over a week ago, Scribefire blew up spectacularly, reporting the post, posted, and losing it somewhere in the ether, leaving me two hours worse-off with no sage words to account for the time.  And, really.  The entire thing was vaguely pretentious, I give you – my posts-between-work posts are – and probably over-long, but I enjoyed the writing process and am still seething I lost the bloody thing.  Irrespective of the end result, two hours of my final analogue Saturday was spent writing a digital post that exploded thanks to digital technology into the digital ether.  I get the contradiction, but if you go back to the original post explaining the analogue vacation that last sentence should sort of make sense.  I could have been in the garden drinking Pimms.

It was strange the digital vacation.  Spending time looking into the digital conurbation from the analogue wilds was very cathartic, more than I imagined it would be.  My hands were frequently caked in mud, split and bleeding from the manual graft involved in building a sandstone patio literally from the ground up.  I now know the difference between dozens of strains of bamboo, I can find a Pieris in a field of Hebes, and finding the right position for a Yucca Recurvifolia is second nature.  I climbed mountains, I went to the gym, I replaced all digital activities with an analogue equivalent.  Big news still washed up on the shores, but there was a certain naive calm to being unplugged from the feeds – the anxiety of constant updates gave way to the steady rhythm of the daily broadsheets.  Snapshots of how things were then, more than how they are right now.

So after the hiatus, the blood and sweat, what stays and what goes?  Games are the easy call – I’ve missed my iPhone and console gaming a lot, and am enjoying getting stuck into the pile of shame.  Obviously we have new handhelds imminent and out, which I’ll get to in due course.  I need to take a look at the Windows 7 devices, and catch-up with Android state-of-play.  Flickr, Tumblr, Vimeo, Instagram all stay – since the end of the hiatus it’s telling that I’ve been posting daily to Instagram, and rarely to Twitter.  I haven’t missed the noise, truth be told, and think that, as with Facebook, although I respect the power of the platform, it can easily become too distracting and, well, noisy.  I’m glad it’s around, and will use it for certain news functions, but am backing away from the quasi-regular monitoring.

Lastly, to said-same Facebook.  I actually toyed with a wholesale exit from the platform for a spell.  A digital pub to the Twitter Speaker’s Corner, demanding time I really don’t have.  As with twitter, I’ll use it as announcement and aggregation tool, but won’t slip back into the vicarious consumption of other people’s lives.  The time I was putting into those smaller social things are going back into analogue activities, and more generative digital activities.  In short, activities I draw more direct satisfaction from.

As a footnote, I have to admit the thought of doing it all again 12 months from now is very appealing.  As we co-habit digital space, moving between its pages and forums and gaming platforms, social platforms, and digitally segregated communities, out there in the analogue world life continues to flow around its own rule set.  I think it’s healthy to head out there to the exclusion of the pyschosocial online experience from time-to-time.  I recommend it.  As long as you come back.  Refreshed.

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