Recently I have noticed that I feel lost when I cannot connect to my online world so I have decided to schedule a digital break every few weekends for a whole day! This is very challenging because the digital world is an integral part of my life and it crept in so quietly. I don’t see any seam between my virtual and non-virtual worlds.
I noticed recently that when I see or hear something interesting I think to myself “I’ve got to put that on Facebook” and before that I thought, “I could blog about that” and before that I thought “I will email that” and before that I probably wrote letters. Somewhere along the line I also stopped phoning and started texting. Many people I know have also evolved to tweeting about their life, observations or new information on an hourly basis!
I, like many of my online friends, have a personal style that likes to share and connect with others, quickly and often. I feel very connected through the online world and believe that I have real relationships with the people online that I regularly converse with. I still view strangers online as strangers online, but I am happy to chat with them as I might in a Supermarket line. I am wary though if I meet someone online in a forum that is strange (e.g. I think that the weirdest people comment in YouTube)
So what about addiction to online activities? This is my biggest concern for people like me who like to connect online. We can find life in this world more controllable, and satisfying and neglect the real world realities like cooking, cleaning, washing, shopping and being with our real world family and friends. So, online/real world balance might become a new area for occupational therapists to work with people who have started to “twitch from too many tweets”!