Imagine if we didn’t have the internet anymore. For starters, you wouldn’t be reading this. Also, there would be no Facebook or Instagram to scroll endlessly. Twitter neither. Dang. But is this a horrendous prospect, or would it be a welcome relief, do you think? Like, have we been given a sort of poison chalice? The kind that was so sparkly and rad and full of promise, when we first clapped eyes on it, that we did not think this whole thing through?

And actually, how COULD we have thunk this internet stuff through?

I mean, who could have predicted that social media platforms and search engines would become technological superpowers, influencing elections and skewing culture and sneaking stuff in front of us that we never wanted to see? How could we anticipate “innovations” that were yet to come? Let’s not blame ourselves.

It’s not all bad, obviously.

Important voices are being amplified (erm, and less important ones too) thanks to the internet. People who may never have met are able to connect and buddy up or get loved-up through mutual interests and friends.

Previously hidden human rights violations are dragged onto the screens of millions (whether we do anything about them or not).

Lesson are learned. Classes are taken. Cakes are baked. Crafts are made. Songs are sung. Etc.

Thanks to the internet, we’re exposed to all manner of good things. And bad things too. Even boring things. Tis true.

But that said, where would we be, if the internet didn’t deliver the good, bad and boring to us?

Would it be … better?

Would we have to get off our bottoms (or break away from our standing desks) and seek out the things we love a little more passionately?

Or would we be missing the amazing tool that’s going to make everything way greater?

And how about the people we do get to see, should Google’s or social media’s algorithm elevate them and deign it so? Are they the people we really need to see or want to see? Or would we be better off popping our head over the back fence? Or fronting up to more in-real-life events to clap eyes on people and make the nicer ones our friends?

Life Magazine

I know what many of you might be thinking. That we can strike a balance? That we can do all of these things? But can we? Truly? Huh?

I mean, do you think this kind of balance is like work-life balance? Alway a struggle, see-sawing back and forth and in the end just being… well… LIFE. (And a kind of overwhelming life at that.) I think it just might be.

And look, I don’t know about you, but I’m a little bit freaked out by the way these tech superpowers have stalked many facets of our online life and mushed them all together to make a template of who we are as individuals – and as subcultures too.

Is this worth it, do you think?

Should we just go to the library or have chats in real life or find a new way of connecting that doesn’t involve this surveillance and cynical marketing?

Are the internetty powers-that-be actually beginning to render us conveniently and commercially passive, with the promise that we have everything at our fingertips?

Because our fingertips are just tap-tap-tapping and scrolling and clicking in search of the everything.

When really our bodies and brains should be moving towards more tangible passions and interests and people and places?

Are we just tapping away and hitting ‘like’ and hoping that we’ll find true connection/destiny some time soon, if we scroll far enough down the page?

What do you think, dear reader? What shall we do about this? How can we make this better for US? Let’s form a gang and think up some strategies. How can we subvert this monster for our own good, now that it’s gotten way out of hand?

Write back soon! Love to youse!

x Pip

PS: Obviously WE don’t suck. You and me. And our faves. Nope.

PPS: I haven’t been blogging much because I am reading a lot and trying to do my stupid old taxes and it’s very hot here and I’m just working at being content in myself, without directing too much into the online world. Hope that makes sense!


Image Source: Life Magazine : G Parks


  1. I love this post Pip. Thanks for writing it. It expresses much of what I have been thinking lately.

    Hope your taxes are complete!

    • Paula

    • 3 years ago

    Yes a conundrum indeed. I’ve just recently jumped on instagram purely for my small online business. Strangely it can only be a business account if you have a face book account too which I don’t have and don’t want to have. Things seem pretty stitched up in cyber world. And for me it was hard not to make comparisons to other peoples accounts, but recently I was listening to a great podcast where lots of clever crafty woman are in conversation with the host about their chosen craft(s); spinning, weaving, knitting, sewing etc etc and one of them mentioned how she’d heard a quote saying “comparison is the thief of joy” and I thought too true. Seems like an epidemic in the western culture. Leunig wrote such a gorgeous poem called JOMO. (Joy Of Missing Out). It’s online for all to read. 🙂

    • Kristy

    • 3 years ago

    Yes! I definitely agree with so much of what you have said here. I’ve been having a Facebook and Instagram break for the past few months and I find it is good for me. The anxious scrolling for new content was taking away from my happiness rather than adding to it, and that’s pretty much my barometer. I haven’t left for good, but when I start feeling like that I know it’s time to step away for a bit.
    A few weeks ago I was feeling the effects of being out of the loop but calling friends or seeing them in person really does help with that, and I find our conversations are different because we aren’t starting from a base of assumed knowledge because half of what’s been happening in life is already posted online.
    I know you are a podcast fan – you might like a recent cluster of episodes that the Slow Home podcast did on social media and it’s effect on our attention and mindfulness :
    Ps. I bookmarked a few key sites that I like to check in with when I decided to take a social media break and yours is one of them!

    • Aleta Barker

    • 3 years ago

    You’re always hitting it, Pip. Spot on. I miss my friends. Part of the reason many of us are connecting online is that work and caring for kidlets takes up so much time and does tend to trap on at home. I’m currently cutting down on my ‘net usage for social media and calling my buddies more often instead. It’s much more satisfying and seeing them in real life? The best! I think the web is affecting my creativity too, I get intimidated by all the fabulousness and find it harder to do anything of my own…but that’s where the sweet spot is, the doing and the making. And the meeting up!

    • Reannon

    • 3 years ago

    You know I’ve been off Facebook for years & ive never missed it. This week I logged outta Instagram ( again. I think it’s the 3rd or 4th time this year) because I like the mental space I have when I’m not scrolling. Only this morning I was thinking to myself I wonder if I could go the whole of 2018 without using the internet? Sure, I’d mis stuff but I think I’d bloody love it! But because the whole world communicates via the net I don’t think I’d actually be a proper functioning member of society.
    I like myself a lot better when I’m off the gram, I’m more productive, more relaxed, more content & more ME because I’m not looking at what everyone else is doing & wondering if that’s what I should be doing too? When you have no social media it’s a bloody good reminder the simple, ordinary, mundane life you live is pretty great. But, I do like seeing what’s happening in people’s lives too. Mainly people I feel I’ve gotten to know over the internet if truth be told. It’s such a conundrum!!
    So for now, I’m checking in on my fave blogs, logging my books on goodreads, buying Christmas presents & searching for the occasional recipe online & that’s about it. Life without social media & the news sites is good. It’s quiet & at this time of year quiet is great!

      • Kate

      • 3 years ago

      I was hoping you would pop in here reannon I always enjoy your perspective on this stuff.
      Isn’t life so much sweeter when there is no fomo? I didn’t think I suffered from it but I do. It’s time for me to get back to pootling through life I think. I don’t want to leave the internet completely but I do want to leave the things that don’t serve me well.

  2. Yes Pip, you’re so right. I’ve been feeling this a lot lately too. Facebook has turned into this place where you run into the room, shout what you want to say, and then run back out of the room. Then people come over and either click a button or say what they want to say about the thing you said, which may or may not have anything to do with what you actually said. It’s stopped being a conversation, and I wonder if it ever really was one.

    And TBH these days I mostly avoid reading comments to everything because they’re so nasty. Yesterday I read a lovely article, full of information and science and encouragement, about how dogs are good for kids and anxious people. The comments were all, “Oh yeah but what about people who have dog allergies?” and “I had a dog and it sucked so good luck with that.” and “People abuse this service animal thing and here goes another article encouraging that.” (The article didn’t say a thing about service animals!). Sheesh. Why?

    Like you say, the Internet has brought us lots of good things. I’ve learned how to knit and crochet. I’ve learned so much by virtue of having easy access to lots of great articles and informational websites. That said, all of those things are out there in the real world, too, if only I’d make it a priority to seek them out and experience them.

    But it’s also brought lots of bad things. I’m a more anxious parent with my youngest boy than I was with my two oldest, who came of age mostly before the Internet had invaded our phones. I’m more anxious generally. And I’ve noticed that when I take a step away from the Internet for a few days, it feels like my brain has a chance to breathe and unknot.

    It would be great if we could find a way to consciously engage with technology again (maybe like when we were kids and there was “computer time” in school), rather than allowing using technology to be our default setting. At least that’s what I try to do with my kiddo, though I could be a better model for that behavior.

    Lots to think about. Thank you for the early morning reminder to leave my phone in my purse today. 🙂

  3. Hi Pip
    so thrilled to see your post as this is something that’s been creeping around as an issue for me lately too. I wrote this post as a kind of response to you….
    I hope that’s okay 🙂

  4. I have never been so compelled to write “Yes yes yes!” as I am right now.
    Yes to all of the above. More library chats. Less surveillance and making us passive consumers. Less of people not going to bookshops anymore because every thing we could ever want is droned to our front doorstep before we even knew we wanted it. And all those tech companies are competing for our attentions, and our money, and our sleep. And others in the world and the world itself suffers as a result of the endless consumption. Keep our human connections alive. It’s the best we can do to create resistance.

  5. I second your thoughts Kate. I skim over so many ideas/projects/ suggestions all day every day that when I actually have some time to myself to do something IRL that’s not work or parenting, I’m paralysed by choice and feel deflated and do nothing. I had this experience a few years back when I started following recipe sites on FB. They gave me so many new recipes that I didn’t end up cooking any of them for fear of not making the ultimate recipe choice! My solution- if it was awesome enough, I’d print it out. Then I’d only have to go back to my paper treasure trove to find a gem. Maybe that’s the ticket- a good dose of hard copy commitment (to using a printer or rsvp’ing to an event) thrown in with the surreal internet utopia…

    • Sandra

    • 3 years ago

    Yes! Exactly what Kate just said! I can’t even elaborate, she’s spot on. X

    • Kate

    • 3 years ago

    Yes I think it does kind of suck.
    Lately I’m finding myself so dissatisfied with the online thing. I’ve learned lots, connected with a few people who I would love to have in my gang and been inspired in so many areas of my life. But I think at the same time I’ve found labels/boxes that I can fit myself into that really haven’t been helpful at all. If I didn’t know about those boxes I really believe I would have kept happily pootling along in my small world life.
    I do still love to read a few special blogs but really other than that, social media, news feeds and instant digital communication just leave me feeling disappointed in myself for wasting my time there.
    I feel quite sad too because I feel like I’ve forgotten how to just be, or how to entertain myself when I have those moments of stillness and quiet in my day. There are so many things I say I want to do but do I really? Because if I did I’d get off the virtual world and do those things in the real world. I think I’ve forgotten how to be comfortable with myself.
    I have been thinking of you and hoping that you are ok, I’d noticed you were quiet again lately.

      • Another Kate

      • 3 years ago

      Kate (and Pip), your comments really echo my own thoughts of late. Especially with regards to not knowing what to do as much now in the quiet moments of the day, feeling less satisfied, feeling like I’m wasting my time when I am on the interwebs, but finding it harder to find contentment and contemplation when in nature or walking or reading books (which usually do the trick). I feel myself changing but maybe not for the better. I’m confused and feel a growing sense of disquiet. Maybe the solution is to go ‘low tech’ for awhile (I’m certainly not anti-tech, just struggling to find a balance perhaps). I do think we are making technological advancements too fast for our ethical and philosophical responsibilities to keep up. And emotionally too it’s a quagmire.

      • Reannon

      • 3 years ago

      I think if you give yourself enough time & space you’ll remember how to be you & you’ll get comfortable with boredom again which will open up space for you to do all those things you want to do x

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