• Andrew Meunier

Rethinking My Cloud Footprint

Updated: Jun 26, 2020

I've spent an enormous amount of time in front of the computer in the last few months. As I'm writing this, the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing and my home state of New York has only recently loosened stay at home orders. Remote teaching had me tethered to my screen many days and I've noticed that I've spent more time on social media (i.e., Facebook) in the last few months than I had previously. Much of this is natural; I get some news from Facebook and seeing how people are responding to the mega stories of the day has become a bit of a compulsion. This is true even as I'm careful to get news content from a variety of reputable sources. I also can't discount a yearning for connection as our normal face-to-face interactions were almost completely eliminated for months.

Me and my occasional writing companion.

One positive consequence of our current situation is that I have been writing in my journal more. It started off as a need to document what was happening because everything felt so momentous. But there was also an aspect of introspection that I enjoyed and hadn't given myself much time for in the past. Admittedly, I can be an impatient writer. These days I reflexively try to use speech-to-text for even moderately long text messages. It's notable if I'm able to write for more than ten minutes without feeling the urge to get up and do something else. I'm as prone to a shrinking attention span as anyone in our modern society however I hadn't usually thought of myself as so flighty. Ruminating about this further, I think the medium may have something to do with my impatience. I can type much faster than I can write with a pen and I'm much more accustomed to using a keyboard to shape my thoughts. I think I also like the idea of being able to quickly look back on what I've written and locate an idea or thought quickly. This is something that I'm accustomed to being able to do when using the computer. I've always enjoyed writing but haven't done it any serious way using a pen and paper since grade school. In a way, I've been trying to force myself to write using a medium that is disjointed from my normal way of doing things. I originally thought this might be a benefit as it would get me away from screens and potentially more distractions. But if I really consider how I usually work, I'm able to be productive on the computer and often spend hours working on projects for school. There's some multitasking to be sure but I'm usually able to stay quite focused and I get no small amount of satisfaction from the products I create.


Why Not Social Media?


The minor thrill of crafting a post on social media and closely studying people's response to it isn't lost on me. I'm not a prolific poster but I've been surprised by how good it feels to get a response from others. I can certainly see how it could become something akin to addiction for some. I'm a (very) amateur photographer and it's been fun to see people respond to Instagram posts of photos I'm proud of. However, using Facebook and Instagram feels increasingly restrictive to me. I'm always curating what I post. Often I notice that I'm trying not to offend anyone or angling to present myself in the best possible light. There's precious room for creativity or real self-expression within these constrictions, as silly as they might seem. That said, there is something undeniably motivating about sharing something with others. There's little about my nascent journaling that needs to be private and there's some of what I've written about I really would like to have a conversation about with someone or, in the case of my photos, maybe some feedback on. So what about this ancient form of electronic expression, the blog? Maybe this can be a place where I can craft my thoughts in writing and collect things that I find interesting. Although it would be available for sharing (and I could even share posts on Facebook), probably only those closest to me would bother to read. The medium alone seems more likely to hold my attention and excite my motivation. This is true as much as I wish I could be someone who can get lost in my moleskin notebook with my own deep thoughts...


So let's give it a try! Maybe I'll look back on this when I'm cleaning out my browser bookmarks one day and chuckle (or blush). But who knows?