July 14, 2011

Mindful Web Use and Popcorn Brain

At American Buddhist Perspective today,  Justin Whitaker writes about a conversation he had with a friend about the benefits and drawbacks social media. Regarding the potential drawbacks:

Buddhists sometimes worry that sites like Facebook are nothing more than a feeding tube of ignorance, greed/addiction, and aversion....Of course we can opt out of all of it, exile ourselves to some distant corner of the social media net— perhaps perfectly content with our flesh-and-blood social network. This day and age that seems ever more difficult though, with so many of us traveling far and wide and the ease of electronic communication. So opting out completely seems to be a bit extreme.

On the other hand we can 'get lost' in the sheer mass of online communication. Trying to keep up with a thousand twitter-streams and hundreds of facebook updates is exhausting. Heck, just staying on top of my email is a chore sometimes! So finding limits is also important. Learning how to manipulate your social media to your needs is well worth the time invested. This online network can be extremely informative and helpful, even if it takes us a while to figure it out.

Read the whole post here.

After a day online I often suffer from "popcorn brain," which CNN describes as "a brain so accustomed to the constant stimulation of electronic multitasking that we're unfit for life offline, where things pop at a much slower pace." Luckily, meditation helps. To help deal with that, nowadays, I try to know exactly what I am going to do online before I do it. If I want to read something, watch something, or talk to someone, I try to think about what I am going to do before I do it. Intention. This is what I recommend to anyone struggling with the ever growing presence and importance of the internet in our lives.

Related reading:
Ten Mindful Ways to Use Social Media


Image via Brenderous (Flickr)



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