Right Use of the Power of Internet Technology

Computer Keyboard and handWhat a surprise! Technology, meant to save us time and effort, has opened up vast new worlds—and possibilities that both astound and addict. In the past few years, we have gained the ability to use our power to have an expanded effect through social-media marketing. We have the ability to find, reconnect, and stay in touch with a huge number of friends, causes, and organizations through the Internet, Facebook, and Twitter. We can sit together in a restaurant and get an instant answer to any question through search engines. We can make greatly enhanced presentations through PowerPoint. We could go on and on. Unfortunately, our sense of how best to relate to others in this new technological world has yet to be formed.

Joseph Firmage speaks of this revolution in its broadest context: “The greatest revolutions science and technology have presented to us across history point to a fundamental revolution of the human spirit and ethic equally profound waiting in the wings.” We are the ones who must activate this spirit and ethic.

We can help ourselves stay in balance and effective in our high-tech world by first looking at the ways in which our relationships are off-balance.

In this regard, here are a few questions to ask:

  • Do I spend too much time on the Internet?
  • Does my Internet usage have an addictive quality?
  • Do I find my relationships through the Internet are shallower than my in-person relationships?
  • Do I get overly hyped up?
  • Do I feel duty-bound to respond to emails immediately even when the subject may require time for processing and being creative?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you’ll need to find solutions to bring you back into a healthy balance. Here are several possibilities:

  • Budget and then schedule your time on the Internet. Use a timer, if that helps. When it goes off, stop even if you aren’t done.
  • Separate your emails into categories and deal with each separately.
  • Because all emails look the same (same font and size), it’s easy for them to seem equally important. Recognize this phenomenon as a kind of visual tyranny.
  • Make sure to balance your in-person relationships with your virtual ones.

On February 10, 2013, the The Daily Camera (Boulder, Colorado) reprinted an article by Joanna Weiss from the Boston Globe titled “Your Boring Facebook Friends.” According to Weiss, some 67% of adult Americans use Facebook. However, a February 2013 survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that 61% of the users have taken a Facebook vacation “(because they were) too busy or just (weren’t) interested (or felt their usage) was a waste of time.” Lee Rainie, the director of the Pew project, concluded that “people are (now) making little mental calculations about how much time (they) want to devote to this, (and) the quality … of the material (they) get from (their) friends.”

So, according to the article, we may be beginning to find a less compulsive, more mature relationship with Internet technologies based on our need for self-care and real-time, higher-quality in-person relationships with our families and friends. Right use of electronic power is complex. As in all uses of power, the best is mixed with the worst, the vicious and the virtuous, and we are being challenged to find our way in a world of resources that gives us access to tremendous quantities of free information as well as annoys us with hacking and the difficulty of discerning the true from the false. Humanity hasn’t dealt with these issues before. Applying an ethic of caring about and taking action for the common good is one helpful way through.

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  • molly

    April 8th, 2013 at 9:26 AM

    “Because all emails look the same (same font and size), it’s easy for them to seem equally important. Recognize this phenomenon as a kind of visual tyranny.”

    huh…never thought of that one before! Good point!!!

  • sabina

    April 8th, 2013 at 9:28 AM

    i used to get on FB every once in awhile but then we moved and now i have nobody to talk to

    so i am on FB all the time seeing what everyone at home is up to i tried to go without it but i got so depressed and lonely.

  • Roy

    April 8th, 2013 at 9:31 AM

    I am definitely one who took a sabatical from social media. I found that I was getting really jealous of my friends for all of the cool stuff they got to do and the “toys” they bought. Then, one time I saw a sign someone had put up on their Facebook page. It said:

    Don’t compare the front page of other people’s lives with the behind-the-scenes moments of your every day life.

    That made so much sense to me and I realized I had been taking all of this way too seriously. So, while it’s still fun to check in from time to time, it is no longer a daily habit.

  • wilhamena

    April 8th, 2013 at 9:32 AM

    My problem is when I am finished looking at the stuff I usually look at at night. Then it’s like I just don’t know what to do with my time. I get kind of depressed when there’s nothing else to look at.

  • wilhamena

    April 8th, 2013 at 9:35 AM

    Remember this:

    It is a dangerous web we weave when we first practice to deceive.

    If you are lying to someone/anyone about how much time you are spending on the internet, you probably have an issue and need to reevaluate.

  • reed

    April 8th, 2013 at 10:50 AM

    Who in the heck has all this time to spend wasting on the computer? I am on sometimes but not neary as much as many of my friends and their kids. It’s like they have nothing better to do with their time, whereas I feel like I barey have time to look at much online at all! I guess it’s all about your priorities.

  • Kendall

    April 9th, 2013 at 3:57 AM

    More than suck me in sometimes the internet turns me away- there is just so much out there that it feels pretty overwhelming sometimes!

  • jane

    April 9th, 2013 at 11:15 AM

    I answered yes to all but one of those questions.

    “Unfortunately, our sense of how best to relate to others in this new technological world has yet to be formed.”

    this is so true…humans took hundreds if not thousands of years to learn to communicate and understand each other…adjusting to this invention of just a few decades will definitely take some time to get used to.and the journey is not going to be a smooth one.

    with my answer to the questions one thing is for sure-some of us will have to bear things in our journey…I already suffer from repeated back ache due to long hours of computer usage and my eyes could do with some off-screen time… :(

  • Cedar Barstow

    April 11th, 2013 at 4:06 PM

    What a lot of responses! I’m really seeing that this is an issue on a lot of our minds! There are so many aspects: the ethical issue of lying or telling the truth about yourself; the level of connection you have with people; what facebook time keeps you from and what it gives you. All of you used internet time to read my article, which before the internet likely would never have reached you. I just took a three day internet break and enjoyed a train ride. The train ride itself was quite a gateway to slowing down and becoming more present because the train goes at about 30 miles per hour…amazingly refreshing. I’m going to give myself ONE day off the internet and my computer each week. You might want to try it as an experiment yourself! And I want to be clear that there are some fabulous things that the internet gives me! Often blessings come well-equipped with challenges. Cedar

  • ARUP

    March 17th, 2018 at 12:26 AM

    Now a days internet is a part and parcel in our daily life. Without internet we can’t spend a single day. World is becoming closer and closer because of internet.

    This is very good post. It is very helpful post for everyone.

  • joe

    June 5th, 2018 at 2:41 PM

    Thank you for spreading awareness about internet use. In today’s world, many users misuse internet for their own benefit. many people face difficulties for them.

  • William

    July 3rd, 2018 at 9:55 AM

    The use of internet has spread over a larger area. It should be kept in the knowledge that this greatest invention of technology should be used properly in the right way and should not be misused.

  • KEN

    May 17th, 2020 at 3:45 AM

    The headway is, there must be a limit to the usage of the web (for good stuff); ifn’t, one would just end up enriching a man elsewhere at the detriment of your. DISCIPLINE YOURSELF.

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