For those of you who live on the Internet, I urge you to continue your addiction for the next 3 minutes and read this post.
Are you comfortable? Good. Letâ€™s begin.
For so long, I thought that relationships on the Internet were an acceptable substitute for real-life relationships. No – I donâ€™t mean that I had long-distance relationships over Skype with a girl from British Columbia, as interesting and cool as that may sound. No, I mean that I thought that all the energy I poured into blogging and building relationships here, in the digital realm, could replace the relationships that I let fail in real life.
My logic was great. Hey, on the Internet, you get to pick your friends, rather than having your friends being tied to your real-life community that is limited by age and geography. Here, I can congregate with likeminded people. Therefore, Internet relationships are far, far superior to real life relationships.
Sounds good, right? Wrong.
The Digital Age Myth
The greatest myth of our generation is that, somehow, everything about real life can be replaced digitally, except for food, water, and housing. But everything else can be replaced by electronics.
Donâ€™t believe me?
Face-to-face conversations have been replaced by Skype.
We can relive social events by checking out pictures on Facebook. Hell, we can do everything socially with Facebook.
You can collaborate on work projects over the Internet, especially if Open Source software is your gig. Your coworkers can now live thousands of miles away and you can now work on the same project simultaneously, as if they were right next to you.
You can build your business on the Internet, selling your consulting services or whatever you can think of without ever having to meet your clients in person.
Amazon has killed shops of every kind and you can now purchase anything on the Internetâ€¦ Even used things, via eBay.
You can communicate with people who have the same interests as you on any number of Internet message boards. If youâ€™re interested in it, I guarantee that, somewhere, thereâ€™s an awesome message board for it.
And on and on we go, down the line, until every aspect of modern life is somehow captured by electronics.
However – the great myth is that we can actually replace these things. We canâ€™t. As good as the Internet is, a Skype conversation is nowhere near as dynamic as a real, face-to-face conversation, and going on facebook and doing stuff is much worse than actually going out with your friends.
The Limitations of E-Living
The biggest problem with the Internet is this: no matter how hard you try, you canâ€™t share an experience with someone on the Internet. You canâ€™t. Skype conversations are not experiences, tagging people in pictures of events that already happened are not experiences, and exchanging emails with someone, no matter how much you like them, is not an experience. Itâ€™s almost as if thereâ€™s this layer that prevents us from fully accepting our exchanges on the Internet as something real, no matter how real the person on the other side of the screen might be.
Know whatâ€™s interesting? Guess what I consider to be the most fulfilling part of life?
Yep, you guessed it – sharing experiences with others. The Internetâ€™s achilles heel is the thing that makes life wonderful. And, for that reason, you canâ€™t depend on it to fulfill your relationships. You need to get out, cultivate real-life, awesome relationships and not sit in your cave all the time.
Though Iâ€™ve always had plenty of good relationships in my life, for the past few months Iâ€™ve put aside the digital world and really focused on building relationships in the real world, to the point where I hardly read blogs anymore, and barely ever check in on Twitter.
And you know what? I feel better than I ever did when I was fully invested in the social media and blogging business.
Donâ€™t get me wrong. There are a ton of people who are doing really awesome work on the Internet that I love to read whenever I get a chance, like Ash Ambirge, Joel Runyon, and Colin Wright but, to be honest, my real-life obligations (and relationships!) have had such a stranglehold on my life that Iâ€™d prefer to do what has impact in my life, rather than spend time consuming blogs.
And, you know what, thatâ€™s all you should be doing too. Consume sparingly, but above all, live life in real life.
Stop Wasting Time On the Internet and Go Do Something Already!
See above. Thatâ€™s all I have to say. Go fall in love, go invite your friends out, go do something. Go live. Please. Because, honestly, reading this post ainâ€™t living, friend.