I met this week with a director with whom I'm hoping to work on an upcoming project. After talking about the project the conversation drifted around and at one point landed on the topic of social media.
I'm pretty well plugged in to everything. A friend asked me if I chatted on yahoo and I think my response was "I everything." I'm nowhere near the level of connectivity that Travis has, but I'm still on several social networking sites including Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr, and I have my own websites and blogs. I also carry an iPhone around with me wherever I go, and can check email as well as all other sites at any point during the day. Some of this is really and truly amazing. Because I'm able to connect so frequently to so many people, I am constantly being introduced to new ideas and art. I'm aware of movies that I never would have otherwise known about and have participated in a few really fun online communities and activities (including, my personal favorite, being a member of Cloudmakers).
But I also feel inundated constantly with tons of useless information, and I find this makes it difficult for me to mentally relax and stay present. And maybe this gets in the way of creativity. It's a gorgeous day outside, the perfect day for sitting out on the lawn during lunch and reading (provided I didn't mind getting lawn stuff on my jeans). What am I doing instead? Writing this.
I have to wonder where the balance between the two exists, and where on that continuum lies the greatest potential for me. Am I constantly being exposed to new ideas, or constantly being flooded with too much information? Do I need to have the time and space to have a clear mind in order to process what I take in? When I look at different projects I've taken on, there are definitely ones where an immersion in the process early on paid off, and then there are others that were equally if not more successful despite the last minute, impromptu creative energy that was poured into them in a short period of time.
After talking with that director I'm considering just trying to have one day per week - say, Sundays - be internet and social media free. Is that even possible anymore? I don't just mean "possible" in terms of "can it be done" but also "should it be done." Obviously when I'm heading into tech for a show (and next week will be tech for "The Orchid Flotilla") there's no way I could take a day off from my phone and my computer. Aside from that, though, I don't know that I remember a single time when something I received in email couldn't wait one day. After this show is open, it might just be worth trying it as an experiment for one or two weekends.
There are so many other things that I think might be getting passed over in my life because of how plugged in I am. I don't remember the last time I spent any significant amount of time outside. In a couple of weeks I'm going to take a Saturday and just work on cleaning up our backyard, planting flowers and moving a picnic table onto our deck. I'm looking for ways to make it easier for me to do things that get overlooked.