Well, as Radiohead's Thom Yorke once said, "You did it to yourself and that's why it really hurts." Only this time it doesn't hurt so bad. I'm particularly excited about writing this post because I'm second in line to a new meme started by Fake Plastic Fish. These questions are all about blogging, whether it's writing posts on blogs or reading other people's blogs.
Now usually memes have a bunch of rules you're supposed to follow, but I'm going to keep it simple by just answering FPF's questions. And then whomever I tag will hopefully keep this meme alive in the blogosphere.
1) Do you feel pressured to write a minimum number of posts per week?
Sometimes, although this perceived pressure is self-imposed. I actually feel greater pressure to conduct research and write articles for publication, so blogging is usually a nice diversion from my regular work routine.
I do wish I could write more thoughtful posts, but the fact of the matter is that I've got other duties that demand more of my time and energy. I'm currently writing five research articles for publication. Yikes!
2) If so, where does the pressure come from? If not, why the heck not? What's your secret?
I don't have any hidden insights regarding my self-imposed pressure to blog. I do think the key is balance, and a dash of perspective thrown in for good measure. Fake Plastic Fish knows that I have blog-envy. (If only I could make my blog as cool as hers! If only I could write more thought-provoking articles like she does!) But I think if I spent more time on my blog, it would be at the expense of my research agenda, and I'm not willing to make that sacrifice. I guess that's my perspective on this issue. At any rate, it's how I deal with my blog envy.
3) How do you manage your computer time in general? Is it easy for you to get on, do what you have to do, and get off? Or do you get sucked in for hours and lose track of time?
My computer is constantly on, especially my email. My students have told me that I'm super-quick in replying to their emails. I view it like tennis - you volley to me, and I quickly want to volley back. Anything to get it off my desk, so to speak.
4) Do you have significant others who resent the time you spend online? How do you negotiate computer time vs. personal real-life time?
My partner also blogs, so I don't think he feels any resentment towards me blogging. Actually, if he's going to resent anything, it's the fact that I live in South Bend (he lives in Philadelphia).
5) Do you ever find yourself walking down the street in the real world and realize that your head is still totally stuck in the Blogosphere?
Not usually, although there have been times I've seen or heard something in the real world and said to myself, "Now that's blogworthy!"
6) Has your body suffered in any way from spending too much time sitting and staring at a computer screen rather than exercising? Has your diet suffered?
Not really, although sometimes I need to stretch my legs and buns from sitting at my desk all day. It does help that I regularly bike to work and walk my pups at least twice daily.
7) Have you resorted to alcohol or other chemicals to wind down and take your mind off cyberland? If so, is that a problem for you?
No. I drink alcohol to take my mind off of academia. It's not a problem. All academics do it.*
8) How do you manage your e-mail? Seriously. I need to know. Because remember when I wrote about having over 500 messages in my inbox? I still have over 500 messages in my inbox!
Easy: If there's an especially annoying or frivolous email, I'll delete it. Out of sight out of mind! Ok, so I've only done this twice my whole life (and boy, did it feel good!). My general practice is to keep my email replies short and sweet.
9) Does blogging ever make you feel lonely? It is, after all, a solitary act while you're composing your posts. I suppose it's no different from being any other kind of writer in that regard.
No, on the contrary, I feel more connected. I have a few friends that read my blog regularly. And I've also made some friends, too (like FPF, Merry Meghan). Maybe the underlying question to ask is who's a 'friend' given today's techno-savvy world.
10) What kind of support can we, as bloggers and blog readers, give to each other besides nice comments on the blogs? Is there a way that we can work together and give each other a break? Sure, we could create a Forum to vent our frustrations and give each other feedback. But would that just add another task to our online "to do" lists?
No new ideas here, but perhaps a reflection - I find carnivals (Carnival of the Green) and other blog challenges (Crunchy Chicken's Freeze Your Buns Challenge) to be incredibly supportive and fun. I think this also dovetails with me not feeling lonely while writing my posts - writing keeps me connected with you guys. I love it!
11) Bonus question: How do you read blogs? Do you subscribe in a reader and if so, how many blogs are you subscribed to? How many feeds do you read each day? Do you feel pressured to keep up with your blog reading in addition to your blog writing?
I use Google Reader to keep up with ~25 blogs. Again, there's no pressure on my part. Reading other people's blogs reaffirms my belief that together, we are taking big and small steps to making this world a better place for everyone (ourselves, kids, plants, and animals).
Ok, the questions have been answered, so I'm tagging Merry Meghan and Bring Your Own to help keep FPF's meme going!
Whoa! Thanks for posing these great questions, Fake Plastic Fish!!
* For those of you really wondering if I was being serious or facetious, I assure you - it's only a joke! ;0)