Monday, July 18, 2011

Working on the Next Retreat: Digital Gluttony

Last night I finished up an article that I titled "Daddy Warbucks in Pantyhose" and sent it off to Catapult Magazine. I'm really enjoying being a part of their community. Even though I have such limited time now, it feels good to have a deadline. I can't wait to share my Daddy Warbucks piece with you all!

I also have an interesting opportunity to write a piece about "Finding God and Oneself in the Digital Age" for the Yale publication "Reflections." It's a little mind boggling, but the editor asked for entries about experiences in social networking. The topic for the Fall matches what my August retreat will be about. I had a good call with the editor and I'm excited about sharing some of my retreat experiences with "Reflections."

This leads me to the place where I need to get the rubber to the road on creating content for the August retreat. That's not to say that I haven't done anything, I have. Most of it is still swishing around in my head.

I'm going to try my hardest to get back to the business of writing regularly about the topic. Some of this will be a rough cut, allowing me to figure out what to put forth for the weekend retreat.

One of the things that interests me about the Digital Age is what I've come to all "Digital Gluttony." I am guilty of this kind of gluttony myself; spending hours upon hours of surfing the internet. I pour over pictures on Facebook of people I don't really know and wouldn't recognize in the grocery store. I get lost in World of Warcraft. I play games that serve no Earthly purpose, not for a few moments of entertainment, but for hours.

In some ways, I can see that the lure of the internet (and I'll lump gaming in to this bucket) is that there is so much to see and do. When you're purposefully and thoughtfully engaged in doing things, I think the Internet is a wonderful tool. But it's when one is mindlessly, compulsively clicking that surfing the web becomes more like an addiction than it is a tool for information.

And it's in the over-saturating stage that one often finds the other darker side of Digital Gluttony - isolation. When one is mindlessly clicking about, only viewing the events of others' lives from the sidelines, when one is acting more like a voyeur than a participant, the internet can be lonely.

I realize that anything in life can be isolating when it's not done in moderation. Even the happiest and healthiest behaviors, when done excessively, can leave a person outside normal social circles. In order for us to get past this, we have to remind ourselves to be present and active participants. This is the same in anything in life. At work, at home, with friends, if we don't actively engage with others, look for joy in the moments we have, we can find ourselves in a lonely place.

2 comments:

Sally Ferguson said...

Digital Gluttony sounds like a good name for your retreat. Hope it goes well!

Paula said...

Thank you Sally :) The topic actually lent itself to an article that got published! I had a lot of fun with it.