January 17, 2016


Feeding the Beast (how to survive the pressure of the internet in the 21st century)

We have a Facebook Profile, and Facebook Page; the former a personal space that I add things to from time to time and the latter a business presence* which gets updated every time we have something new to let the world know about. Unlike many of my colleagues (who are updating their Facebook presences hour by hour, if not minute to minute) I feel no compulsion to put anything up there unless it’s important to me.

We have a new website going live very soon and I’ve written a longish blog about the emergence of new technologies that have completely changed our business world in the last two or three years. All this coming tomorrow or the next day; I will publish the relevant blog as soon as the new site goes live.

And our Forums are going great guns; we have over 1,000 members and more than 11,000 posts now. I hope I’m not jinxing the future by observing that the forums are more or less self-sufficient now as there are many active posters. And our stats tell us that many thousands more visit weekly but describe themselves as lurkers and who are not members and who don’t post. It was always my hope that the Forums becomes an unique repository of knowledge on the subject of stretching and strengthening (and much more, these days) and it seems to be well on the way there.

So, getting back to the title, we do not feed the beast in the same way that we see many other people doing. I feel good about that. I had visitors here recently whose phones have the notifications turned on and who are getting Facebook advisories every five minutes or so. Personally I do not find this relaxing in the slightest and found the pings intrusive but I have noticed that social behaviour has changed incredibly in the last five years.

Olivia and I were in a sports bar/restaurant in New York last year and we saw six people who work together come in for an after dinner drink and dinner. All of them were connecting to other people via their phones for the whole time they were there and the only time they spoke to each other was to briefly point the face of the phone to the table at large and laugh about an image there and then go straight back to the person they were talking to. The interesting thing is that they were all having conversations – just not with each other.

And this blog is only something I turn to when I have ideas that really need exploring for one reason or another. If I think about the total amount of time I spend on the Internet on a daily basis it would look something like this: I get up at 6:30 or seven at the latest (and sometimes much earlier; this depends on many factors) and make the first of the two holy cups of coffee with herbs. I then carry said coffee to the couch or to the floor and open the email client on the MacBook Air (I have two other computers; both sleeping at this stage!). I have emails sorted in ascending date order and the client always opens the oldest of the emails first; working through these take somewhere between 45 minutes and two hours. I then go to the Forums and scan the new content; if anything looks either interesting or looks as if it could benefit from some personal input I will go to that but I often leave the forums alone for up to week. I realise in this moment of writing that I never go to Facebook (either page) and I don’t go to the blog are either; that is something that might be accessed when I’m in a more reflective state.

And depending on what is interesting me at the moment I may visit one or both of the pro-photography forums I’m a member of. And that is pretty much the extent of my Internet interaction.

I do have an Instagram account but never use it. I do not have a Twitter account on philosophical grounds: 140 characters is insufficient to express any useful thoughts on anything I’m thinking about and, from the tweets I have seen, encourages the user to pithiness and maximum impact rather than insight. More thoughtful is my inclination.

We will have a Stretch Therapy Twitter account, as google owns the internet these days, but it will only push to the new site. Same for a ST Instagram account.

I feel that social media is having major effects on interpersonal relations. Personally, I think staying off social media will benefit any of the relations near you that you care about, but I feel that I am in the minority now.

So, how do we survive the pressure of feeding the Beast? By realising that the beast is another internal fiction; use the Nancy Reagan approach, and “just say No!

No problem and stay tuned.

*thanks Matt, for picking up a typo

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