Yesterday and today comprised the two-day Catholic Media Promotion Day(s?). Last year I participated and listed some of my favorite online Catholic "things" like podcasts websites and other Internet sources.
Because of that, this year organizers of Catholic Media Promotion Day recommended that participants this year take a break from social media on Wednesday, May 23, then write about it on Thursday, May 24. The hashtag to be used is #silenceandword, as a direct quote from Benedict XVI from the Holy Father's message for World Communications Day.
That message was really about the need to balance contemplation with action related to social media use. As Benedict XVI writes, "Word and silence: learning to communicate is learning to listen and contemplate as well as speak." Nice!
I saw on Lisa Hendey's CatholicMom.com site about Catholic Media Promotion Day earlier this week, and made a mental note to stay off social networks and to write today about it. But as it turned out, that happened to be no problem.
Yesterday was the class trip for our oldest's 8th grade class, so I was on a bus from early morning until late at night, coordinating with the coach driver and keeping head counts of fellow parents (yes, that was one of my roles!) I didn't feel bad being "offline" at all. If I had thought about it, I might have checked Facebook on my phone (I need to delete and re-install mobile Twitter, as it hasn't worked for some months, showing how often I use that on my phone), but I truly never thought of it.
It's interesting to reflect on that, and to choose to have a day of silence, because I find myself with more silence than noise when it comes to social networks and communications. I can go more than a day being on the computer, and even longer for checking into Facebook or Twitter. (I use TweetDeck for Twitter feeds, and lately, my laptop is running slow so I don't often have it up).
Strangely, I find that I have lots of time for contemplation, but not as much time for speaking or engaging. I still have early morning hours and times of quiet when I reflect, or think of things I would like to write and accomplish as I go about the busyness of life. But even though the contemplation bears fruit in the form of ideas, getting those writing ideas actually done has been very difficult lately, because when I've processed it enough to get it down, it's time to take kids somewhere, or put in another load of laundry, or go grocery shopping, or go on a field trip or ....fill in the blank of running a household and keeping kids fed, clothed and loved. And sometimes I get to it, and sometimes I don't. As an example, the only reason that this post is being finished, even after day of intending to, is that a huge branch came down from a tree on the tree lawn in front of our house. It's blocking the road, and a city crew is here cutting it up with chainsaws, and the rest of the family is outside watching. (I went out to snap a few photos and say hello to the police who came, and now I'm taking advantage of the quiet to finish this).
The topic then to share about was, “What in Catholic Media has had an impact on me during the past year?" And to be honest, I have to say my shrinking time online is something that has had the greatest impact on me. It's not all bad, and it's not all good.
I am trying to tweak my schedule and time management skills so that I have more time to accomplish the writing and reading that I love, and with intentionally connecting with others online, whether family members through e-mail, Facebook friends and groups, Twitter or blogging here (as I should!)
But overall, I've increasingly realized that the season of my life right now is meant to be spent as much time as I would like, or feel called to--writing, or reading (sigh!), or interacting with others online--and to be at peace with it. There will come a time when I'll have much more leeway in my schedule to write the Great American Novel (or whatever project I've got in mind then), and be much more active in whatever social media looks like in the future. But for now, it's a lot of analog, and that's a good thing.
How about you? Do you find yourself connected online more than you would like, or less? What would you change about your online engagement?