I have a problem

socialI recently asked students in my “mediated-computer communication” class to share their own engagement with technology and communication. Here’s mine:

I get over 100 emails a day and delete most of them without opening them. I wish I was disciplined enough to just go through them once a day, but I usually skim them two or three times a day, responding only to those that are urgent or interesting.

I manage 3 Twitter accounts: personal, professional and departmental. Hootsuite allows me to do this without losing my mind. I use Twitter every week, but not every day. And not often enough to get real leverage from it. One thing I like about Twitter is that it will update my blogs and Facebook accounts by just posting in one place.  To get any real leverage from social medias as pastor, author, or teacher I would have to quit my day job.

I look over my Facebook newsfeed once or twice a day, mostly to see picture of my grandchildren and be aware of life events involving church members (I’m a part-time associate pastor whose portfolio includes marriage and family—so it is nice to be aware of a high school graduation, for example.)

I have over 500 contacts on Linked In but seldom look at it. So far I have resisted any engagement with Pinterest. I have online accounts with dozens of Web 2.0 apps, most of which are inactive but which I tried out just to be aware of what’s going on.

I own several domain names but only maintain two blogs right now, one personal and one professional. “Maintain” is a euphemism. The professional one is more academic, papers and presentations, mostly. The personal one is one of my favorite things to do, if I didn’t have so many other things to do. I also maintain our church website.

I read the print version of the Wall Street Journal just about every day, unless I’m traveling, in which case I read it on my iPad. Once a day I check a political blog and usually once or twice a day I check a couple of online news sites (CNN and FOX). I have news feeds on text and Twitter. I’m a junkie. The first thing you have to do is admit that you have a problem.

I don’t play any games on Facebook and will cut you off if you even ask. I do play two interactive games on my phone, Words with Friends with three or four people and Ruzzle with two people, including my wife who always wins. Always.

I read my Bible on my Ipad, even at church. I read two or three books a week on a Kindle or Kindle reader. A couple of summers ago I read the entire Lord of the Rings series on my cell phone. I do more and more on my iPad and often leave my laptop at home when I travel.

I only own Apple products—Macbook Pro, iPhone, iPad. I’ve never owned a PC. Most of my teaching involves using and understanding media, and I am not an expert but certainly more than a beginner in production tools for page design and web-publishing in Adobe Creative Suite. Much of this production is time intensive and I have learned to ignore phone calls and text messages if it breaks my concentration or takes me away from something important, like a cup of tea on the front porch with my wife.

I’m fascinated by new things, but quickly lose interest, because there is something newer already. I try to understand computer-mediated communication better than my students do. Fortunately this is not difficult; the digital natives are largely lack self–awareness.

I’m online or on the computer several hours, but I can go a whole week-end without taking my laptop out of its bag or checking my phone more than once or twice. I will probably do some reading, which probably involves e-books. I bought a Kindle reader so I would not be distracted by the internet.

I’d love to discuss the implications of all this, but Breaking News says the president is naming his second term nominees. But do notice that every paragraph in this post begin with “I”.  So please “like” this post. And that’s the essential issue, isn’t it? Computer-mediated communication can foster the illusion that the world revolves around our own interests.

Thankfully, it doesn’t.

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About wally metts

Wally Metts is the daysman. He is director of graduate studies in communication at Spring Arbor University and is a pastor at Countryside Bible Church in Jonesville, MI. The father of four adult children, he and his wife Katie raise barn cats and Christmas trees in Michigan. His grandchildren call him Santa.

One Response to “I have a problem”

  1. I found this very interesting. It is nice to learn some more about your activites. I Thank you for sharing.

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