Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Going online without losing your social life

Before You Go Online

1. Do all your social networking at a desk. The people around you will get mad at you if you are on your handheld device all the time. Consider a desk the appropriate space to connect with the Internet,. It's a very bad idea to tweet and walk at the same time.

2. Limit your sessions. Choose a maximum number of times you can be on Facebook or Twitter in a given day, say three or less. Also limit your total amount of time on Facebook or Twitter to a reasonable amount -- say less than an hour total daily. If you go over these, take a non-judgmental attitude, but realize that you are online a lot, and may want to find ways to cut back

3. Take time away from being online. Each month, take a short "Internet cleanse," say three days where you are completely unplugged. Set up an autoresponder and don't check a thing. The cleanses can be difficult, but they are also amazing. My next one is coming up this weekend.

Doing a Mindful Session Online

1. Set your intention. Before opening your browser, contemplate the truth of interdependence and raise a compassionate intention toward everyone in your network you are about to connect with (yes this may be thousands or millions of people). You could contemplate a traditional phrase such as "may we all be at ease." Whatever you do, notice if you've logged on before you are even aware you did it. Setting an intention slows down the pace of our mental chatter and makes our efforts much more effective. Whatever you do online touches many many other people. To put it bluntly, slowing down and being aware are the keys to not peeing in the pool.

2. Practice Appropriate Speech. If you are going to post something, Before pressing "Tweet" or "Share" on anything, take three deep breaths. Then ask four questions associated with the practice of responsible speech: A) Is this True? B) Is this Helpful? C) Is this an appropriate time to share this? D) I am an appropriate person to share it?
If the answers to all four questions is yes, then feel good about hitting "share." When contemplating these questions, cut yourself some slack. Something doesn't have to be monumentally helpful to be shared, but at least this contemplation will help us stop spreading harmful cynicism and mindless gossip.

By Ethan Nichtern

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