Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Letter to the Internet

Dear Internet,

Okay, this is what I've been wondering: Is there anything you don't know? I mean, could there be some tiny tidbit of knowledge not hidden away in a dark corner of your ever-expanding web? And if that happened to be true, would it even matter to a mere mortal such as myself? The breadth and depth of your knowledge shames the libraries of Congress and Oxford and ancient Alexandria. I have no hope of accessing it all in my one lifetime.

That is why I love you -- and loathe you, too.

You see, you don't collect only the best. No, you're a thorough democrat, dispensing the most evanescent ephemera along with mankind's finest thoughts. Philosophy, theology and science are all fine and good, but you give us equal opportunity to watch people
do stupid stuff with Mentos and Diet Coke and see pictures of clouds that look like Yoda.

Guess to which kind of content I almost always gravitate?

Consider last night. I had a good hour to work on a short story for
a contest I want to enter, a full sixty minutes in which to stretch out the narrative thread and stitch together characters and weave an exotic setting. It's what I wanted to do. Why then did I load up videos of kittens slipping down slides and comics written on Post-it notes about zombie chickens? Oh, wretched man that I am! Who will free me from this body of distraction?

Truth be told, Internet, I'd really like to blame my lack of productivity on you. You provide so much of this stuff to access. But in the end, I know that fault lies much closer to home, in my itchy fingers and easily bored mind.

Most Sincerely,


(Picture: CC 2008 by


B. Nagel said...

Second and move for a vote.

Loren Eaton said...

After I hit the "publish" button, I thought about the irony of including links to the things that diverted me.

Ben Mann said...

I stumbled upon Nicholas Carr's article on the internet and attention spans a while ago and felt much the same thing, Loren.

I find it akin to another piece of advice I encounter consistently: If you want to write, turn off the TV.

My current solution is to use a second internet-crippled computer for writing. We'll see how that works out - I'm a pretty committed procrastinator.

Loren Eaton said...

That article from Carr is so true. I have immense difficulty focusing on lengthy works compared to the time I spent in college. It's discouraging.

Speaking of avoiding Internet distractions, have you ever tried using Q10 or the Write or Die application? They can prove helpful in a pinch.

Michelle D. Argyle said...

Hahaha! Ohhhh, yes, I have often been sucked into the realms of stupid entertainment provided by youtube or some such application. I'm a big sucker for movie trailers of movies I'll never watch...

I'm happy to hear you're at least thinking about writing a short story for the contest! I hope the Internet will listen to your plea and leave you alone for a bit. :)

Loren Eaton said...

Last night I nailed myself to the chair and made some good progress. I think it'll be done by the deadline!

Michelle D. Argyle said...

Yay, Loren! :)

dolorah said...

Do I know the truth of this post!

If I didn't procrastinate writing - uhm, yeah Michelle's contest is caught up in that - I'd be bored. Or, busy writing.

Bad Loren; you're a distraction ;)

Unknown said...

I can tell how depressed I am by how many hours I spend in a fugue state in front of the computer. If it reaches more than two hours per day, then I know I need to make some changes.

Loren Eaton said...


Goodness, I guess I am. What are you all doing reading this tripe? Get to writing!

Loren Eaton said...


The Internet has seriously eroded my ability to concentrate for long periods of time. I hope I have the self discipline to get it back.

marshgrass said...

such a good thought. i remember whne the world was a little bit harder to understand. now we can have everything with just a click

Loren Eaton said...

I rather like the breadth of information the Internet provides. What I don't like is how lazy I've let it make me!