Humans are social creatures by nature. We are trained, from our childhood up and throughout our entire human life, to interact with others and to be socially active.
Now, of course, some are more invested in relationships and interaction than others, but we all still rely on other people to support us and exchange thoughts and ideas with us. Our ability to get along and help each other is an extremely strong point of our species. We have reached an immensely high point of interactivity, probably more so than any other animal on earth.
However, as is with all things, it also comes with a drawback.
Keeping relationships up and stable takes time. Increasingly so, the closer you get to the other person. The more people you know, the more time you spend interacting with them and the more time you lose that you could actually spend working. Now, of course, in most cases this isn't really much of a problem. Most people have fixed working hours, during which they work. The rest of the time is usually spent doing other chores, providing for oneself (eating, sleeping, etc) or doing social things like chatting, doing activities with others and so on. This is totally ok and understandable. After all, you already spent all the rest of your time working or doing other things.
It does, however, become a problem as soon as you aren't getting as much out of the time you put into social activities as you should. Obviously, you are at a problem of optimization. Something is taking up time and is giving you nothing in return, or way too little to be worth your time. The biggest waste of time, in all circumstances, is simply waiting. Waiting for people to arrive somewhere, waiting for something to happen, waiting for anything. You probably spend multiple accumulated hours of just waiting every day. The waiting time and "risk of waiting" is especially high when it comes to anything related to other people. Why? Simple, because if you do something yourself, you could always decide what to do, pretty much immediately. Whenever someone else is involved, you need to wait for them to respond, wait for them to make up their mind, wait for them to do x and y and probably also z.
Obviously, these waiting times are a low price to pay for what you get in return, usually. But here's where the real problem comes in: What if you don't know what you get in return? What if you are just waiting for something to happen, without being certain that it might even happen at all or if, when something does happen, it is of actual profit to you? In this case, the price of waiting is too high. You are effectively wasting your time doing nothing, with expectation of probably getting nothing. Why would anyone ever do such a crazy thing? Quite simply, it happens when we start depending on people too much, or depend on them for something they cannot always provide. This problem is alarmingly high when it comes to the internet.
The internet has an immense amount of stuff to offer. So many interesting and new things for you to learn, wonder and gander at. But it's always also a gamble. Do you want to take the risk of wasting your time looking for something, but not coming up with anything interesting? Do you want to take the risk of wasting your time waiting for something to happen on one of your thousand news ffeeds, facebook status bars, twitter timelines and whatever the hell the latest thing is? You could be using that time to do something productive, or do something that you know you could enjoy or that would benefit you, like f.e. studying, reading a good book, creating something, optimizing your daily routine or doing some work ahead of time.
For me, this gamble has been getting worse and worse lately I feel. I've been wasting huge amounts of time waiting for people to come online and talk with me, waiting for something interesting to happen on forums, waiting for people to respond to my (almost) fruitless efforts at giving something back to humanity, etc. I have become a slacker. It seems that this generation of humans, my generation, is full of slackers and it's normal for people to do effectively nothing for large amounts of time. So who cares, right? Well, unfortunately, I care. I care a huge lot. At least, about how much I do, not so much about how others do. I have the odd habit of allowing others to slack (although not too much either), but never myself. I am a workaholic after all and I see it as only justified to give my best for the people I respect. Which means: Not wasting mine or your time with doing nothing of value.
So then. What now? Am I going to abandon every way of human contact and interaction? Am I going to devote all of my time to work? Hell no, I wouldn't be writing this blog entry if I did. I am, however, going to tone down my activity on Time Waster 3000 websites and my availability on chat related things. So, effectively, I won't be around as much. I'll still push out content as much as I can, but I probably won't be responding immediately or read all of the stuff that happens. The primary concerns of this being #Stevenchan, Twitter and EDF.
As a final note, I'd like to mention that it depends on you for how much time you want to spend with social activities and how much you want to spend actually doing productive things. Finding the optimum for both is very tricky and takes a lot of time and effort. I hope you and I can get there eventually. For now, focus on improvement.
Posted on Tuesday 08.05.2012 22:08:58 by Shinmera.
Posted on Tuesday 08.05.2012 22:08:58 by Shinmera.