Friday, May 10, 2013

When Online Life DOESN'T Mean Something

“Happy families are all alike;” begins Anna Karenina, “every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

 Can the same be said of the blogosphere?

 Women who are making their online life mean something are all walking that out in incredibly different ways, but they share the same fundamentals. Women who are screwing up their online lives are all doing it in their own way, but I've noticed that there are some common patterns they fall into.

What does it look like when our online life doesn't mean something? Here are some common ways:

1. Our online life is harmful to our inner circle. If our online life is hurting the ones we love, we're doing it wrong.

"I'm so glad there was no internet when I was a 20-something mom," writes blogger Elizabeth Foss: "I'm so glad I wasn't tempted to preserve in words my every whine .... I'm glad my husband wasn't forced to see grumbling in print every time he logged on hoping to see sweet pictures of his kids .... I'm so glad my complaining doesn't still stand as a testimony for my children to read."

2. Our online life is hurtful to our audience. If we're using the internet to complaint about others, stir up controversy, just be a jerk, we're doing it wrong. Nobody needs to read that stuff.

3. Our online life is disruptive to the shape of our lives. If our time online is crowding out good stuff that needs our attention--and this can look a million different ways--then it's time for a change.

4. Our online life is bad for the soul. Our online life can’t mean anything if we make it the only thing. If we want our online lives to mean something, we've got to keep the main thing the main thing. And the main thing is not the internet.

 What am I missing? What else belongs on this list?

Anne Bogel loves strong coffee, long books, and big ideas. She puts a timely spin on timeless women’s issues at her blog Modern Mrs Darcy.

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  1. Needed this, Anne! I think I run into 3 & 4 a lot. That "shape of our lives" phrase was really helpful - I don't want online work to affect the ebb and flow of my days for the worse.

  2. Thanks-- and excellent affirmation to my sporadic posts!


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