Wasting Your Time on the Web?

Beach-2What if we decided to spend our time more productively? What effect does watching, rather than participating have on us?

Beach-4Just a thought. My last post on Taking the Dive – Cliff Divers was a “jumping off point” for looking at how we spend time and if are we spending too much time online. I was watching, not participating, so is that no different from looking at a computer screen? Why, yes it is because I was there taking in the full experience, like I said in the post, Waiting for the Sun to Set.  All three posts and one coming up have a connection of thought.

Seems hypocritical to mention wasting time looking at beach scenes, no? When you consider how beneficial it is to mental and physical well-being, taking a vacation is a great remedy. But constantly being on the web for social interaction or blogging? Does it make us lazy or do the neurosciences have a warning for us?

Sunset-1That is a really good question and science still does not have any concrete theories on detrimental cause/effect on moderate use, (except for internet addition of those of constant use or how it affects sleep patterns if on the web late at night). You can’t get addicted to blogs (but maybe the act of blogging), but you can easily tire of them.

Beach-6Our world changes at earth-shattering pace. Technology at record pace itself. So being connected to the world for information has its good points. Ironically though, from the safety of our media screens, the emotional content of film, video and television can affect the psychological mood or health of a person.

BirdBathingToday, attention is constantly directed toward stimuli that is streaming TO us. TV, radio, cell phones and the internet bombard us constantly. We generally are passive participants, not actually engaged in the adventure of others. It seems this would for certain have psychological or sociological effect.

Scary things happen in the world, and people do have the curiosity to want to know those things. We get information on violence, famine, the Earth warming with glaciers melting, the political unrest around the world, and a whole host of other calamities.

The linked article above studied people watching these negative news reports and you just might be surprised how it affects us. We are bombarded all the time by negative or frightening news. My next post looks at a scary issue affecting this world and how one country is dealing with it and our country not so much.

Beach-1How many times while doing something else do you feel the need to check out the web or turn on the TV? With the state of world affairs and presidential running candidates, I bet quite often.

Sunset-4If that’s the case, take stock in what is wasting your time, limiting your possibilities or ruining your day with worry. While I like to keep current, bad or exasperating news puts people in sad or miffed moods.

GrackleFeetNo doubt when you’re watching TV or browsing the web you’re not doing anything else. How valuable an activity is it when just sitting around to be entertained?

After having health issues these last few years, (after a life-long job working at a computer desk in architecture and graphics), I learned  how this sedentary activity was affecting my health. Electrical activity to muscles drops dramatically or ceases. I walk a lot now, miles and miles a day, and am now on the web infrequently.

Many of my posts get written when I am stuck and unable to get up and roam about (like on a plane). Scientific reports have led to studies on the relationship between physical activity, physical fitness, and cardiovascular health. It seems staying active is the best medicine one can engage.


So what is the internet good for? I think it is great for learning and great for inspiring. And pretty darn good for seeing the world.

Beach-3So in conclusion to how the internet can make us lazy, out of shape or sick, getting out and about guarantees there is no risk of ill-health from internet activity.

Sunset-2So out and about it is…

Sunset-3I hope this post was worth reading and gave you some things to ponder.

Beach-5Best medicine, see the world for REAL. Gardens are everywhere.


About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at: http://gardenwalkgardentalk.com
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44 Responses to Wasting Your Time on the Web?

  1. Søren says:

    I think a lot depends on how we use the media at our disposal. Personally I don’t really get anything out of TV, so I don’t own one, but the internet has in many ways shaped my social life. Some of my closest real-life friendships were formed on line, and some of the “original” real-life friendships are mainly maintained because we have such easy access to each other. To me, it’s all about the interaction and relations (and yes, reading the news as I would have a newspaper), and I think that’s actually really positive.

    • I do have TV, but I find myself watching my favorite shows at my convenience on the computer or the DVR of the TV. I too have friends that I visit or travel with that I made through blogging, yet I am not one to converse online or through FB. I actually like hearing them on the phone better. I don’t get a newspaper, so my news is accessed online. You enjoy the social aspect, but for me, it is more on learning things I don’t know. I like piecing things together not always apparent at first. It gives me things to discuss on the blog, as do my travels.

  2. Lisa - Ontario says:

    Lovely and thought provoking at the same time. Years ago I made the conscious decision to limit my exposure to news. I found it upset me too much. I choose what I allow into my life. Some people accuse me of living in my own little world. I’m okay with that. It’s nice here.

    • I only wish we could avoid all the “bad” news. I remember vividly 911. I was doing a very large landscape design and preparing it for the client that afternoon. The TV or computer was not on, so I had no idea what was happening. Right before I left to meet the client, I flipped on the TV for a reason I cannot even remember. I stood in shock at what was happening. I quickly called the client to cancel, and believe it or not, the client was more interested in seeing her design. I was floored by this. Trying to get 7 miles to her estate was almost impossible since I live near the Canadian border, an airbase and a power plant. Roads everywhere where closed and soldiers were positioned all over Niagara Falls. I finally made it and have no idea how I got that job because I was an emotional mess. I worried for my brother who lives in the DC area and works for a big national defense contractor supplying the air force and Pentagon. After 911, I always have the TV on. I may not be in the room, but it stays on. It took me ten years to get back on a plane. I think living in “your own little world’ helps. At least that is where you have control.

  3. I agree with you: “Best medicine, see the world for REAL”. 🙂
    And Donna’s offerings, I would add! 🙂
    ps my internet time is also less frequent and I think it may have been my ‘defense system’ mechanism taking over! 😉

    • Thank you Marina. I had a similar awakening to you about blogging. I realized, “A great blog should be rewarded with viewers that you don’t have to work tirelessly to get. Just saying…those you work for are just not worth your time. Visit those that visit you! I do with those I share similar interests. Limit your web surfing.” From a previous post of mine. I guess that was my defense mechanism.

  4. You can take anything to an extreme. It’s hard to get some kids to read, yet others always have their nose stuck in a book and don’t do anything else. Media can help connect us to the world and expose us to places we can’t visit ourselves. Yet we all have places close to home that other people would view as interesting and even exotic. Yep, let’s get out and experience the physical world around us.

    • I agree. As you and I were talking lately, certain bloggers do take blogging to extremes. My garden every day is too much garden! Look for blogs that write about things you don’t know (provided they know what they are talking about), not repetitive frivolities. I agree, the media opens our eyes to new experiences. I did have a line in the post about getting out even if it is just a neighboring town, but took it out. Yes, much to see locally, especially in nature. Gardens in this area are rivaled by nowhere else either in sheer number of open gardens.

  5. swo8 says:

    Given the choice I would be on a beach. I always have to stretch my time between the internet and preparing a meal or other more mundane chores. (you know this multitasking thing)

    • I decided blogging is only as important as I make it. When I limited it, it really made little difference for GWGT. My doctor told me to limit sitting at the computer, so I did. Poor circulation is the reason why. I have been feeling much better the more I walk and get out. I always was an outdoors person, but I found with work and blogging, there was too much computer time. Too much sitting. I am not one always on my iPhone. It hardly ever visits the internet. I must be the only iPhone user that uses it like a phone and I don’t even use it for calls that much either.

  6. rogerbrook says:

    You are certainly not wasting your time when you produce your marvellous pictures. They are a lesson in how to construct a photograph which has impact and grabs attention.
    Sorry to hear about your health issues. Getting in the garden is of course wonderful exercise and therapy.

    • Thank you so much Roger. I agree, the garden is a great place to get exercise. Unfortunately for me, the doctor has limited my gardening activities for the year. No more digging out plants or edging the beds. Many of the maintenance chores are limited. They are monitoring the strain of my activities on my weakened heart to see what I can handle safely.

  7. alesiablogs says:

    I believe in everything you wrote. Walking and getting out has been a changing force for me. Thx for a good read

  8. Loved to see the photos of St. Lucia again. As they say, sitting is the new smoking and is just as detrimental to your health. I don’t watch TV and the time in front of the computer is all demanded by my job but there is way too much of it. You didn’t mention a prime culprit pinning people to a chair, Facebook—it will be the death of us. I don’t really do FB either.

  9. Interesting food for thought. It reminds me of the time when the USSR was completely blocked off from the world. Sometimes the news media would report disasters a few days later – and then a very toned down version. To prevent people from getting so worked up about the bad news and therefore revolt. Now we get the news immediately at our finger tips. I think that all this negative news bombardment is numbing us to the actual reality of disasters and wars. I have stopped watching the news on TV. I have the radio on which gives me news updates, and there is also my phone apps if I want to catch up with something. That gives me control over what I want to know.
    By the way wonderful photos

    • It can be numbing, but I think the world news via internet reporting is getting so bad that people can’t turn the blind eye any longer to the evil, inhumane actions happening to people. The refugee crisis is making people notice. Couple that with the environment and we are looking at problems too big to rectify.

  10. arlene says:

    Well said Donna!

  11. Your post was definitely worth reading, Donna! I’m in a hurry so I’m sorry for this short remark, but feel sure I agree to many points mentioned by you!

    • I understand. Thank you. I think the world news is getting to a point where we as one-world inhabitants can’t tune it out. What happens over in your country is just a prelude to what happens here with the refugees for example. Extremism spreads and effects us all.

  12. I think it is very important to get away from the internet and blogging. I was just having this conversation today! I can usually tell when I’ve had enough. Then I shut down and get back to the real world. Often a run through our neighborhood and a look around outside is the first step.

    • I agree. Nature has a way of pulling us in that direction too. I find at this time of year, the migrating birds are my main interest. The garden is a chore come spring and cleanup is never a job I look forward to for all the work. Many gardeners post on a few shoots of a bulb emerging or show the garden during cleanup, but that is not for me. Every year these same things happen. It is not a miracle or anything. 😀

  13. Sounds like blogging/etc was an outlet for you during an intense and lengthy illness/recovery…I’m thrilled to hear you’re able to take more walks, now. It also sounds like as things change, you’re able to change too – finding balance in blogging/etc with ‘real’ life where it’s all a part of the whole…
    peace always, Donna.

    • No not at all. I did not blog when I was most ill. I took time off. I also never had an issue with finding balance. I have a very demanding job which keeps me at the computer and I can just type a few thoughts into a post when doing my work. With my Photoshop skills, blogging is a breeze for me. I automate quite a bit. Getting away from the computer with work was key. I took on less clients and made sure to find time for my photography and travel.

      • Ahhh, thanks for the clarification.
        When you automate, how many finished posts do you average in the queue? Do you have them on auto-pub chronologically or do you pick one and then send it on as ‘needed’ depending upon your schedule? Just wondering as I think your blog is a great example of one that runs like a well-oiled machine.

        • I have a month at a time usually. Yes, they are auto-publication and scheduled. Occasionally, I will slip in one that is something I have photographed that day, like a bird post from a nature hike in between scheduled posts. Other times, a month will be free for the same reason, depending where I go and what I see, especially at garden walk time or bird migration. I can always have the text pre-written for those posts too since I am very knowledgeable on both. Like when I travel, I write on things to make travel easier (like packing or issues of plane travel) or talk about world affairs where I will visit and those posts are written ahead of my trip. While traveling, all I have to do is pop in the images with a little blurb about the image or place. All the images are batch loaded and batch edited for size. I can even batch edit them for photo improvement if expose or clarity is off on a group.

  14. lulu says:

    I so enjoy the blog world, but it can become more of life than ever intended. These days I’m limiting time I spend at the computer which means I not only post less I read and comment less.

    • Good plan. I myself have cut back on all that too. I could never be a blogger that trolls for readers by doing the memes and visiting everyone. That becomes hundreds and hundreds of blogs to visit. No one can actually read all those posts, so they comment so generically or hit the like button. I still get likes even though I removed it from the blog. What is the point if one does not take the time to visit the post? Bloggers should read posts that first and foremost interests them, not to get a reciprocal comment.

  15. Timely post for me as I just had to send out my laptop for repairs. You can certainly spend too much time online, though I think for me with the blog that time is not excessively passive. On the other hand, I have to balance the screen time with time outside in the garden or riding our stationary bicycle. Although I’m usually watching something on Netflix while riding. Oddly I am not a news junkie unless it is something directly related to my job. I’ve gotten to the point where news stories seem incredibly repetitive, there is rarely much new in the news.

    • I suppose the blog is not passive in the case where many of your posts are on your garden. I usually only photograph my garden when I have some advice to pass on, not just on what is in bloom that day or profile a particular plant. The reason not to profile a plant is I often see garden bloggers recommending a plant not even suitable for their own zone (after just putting it in that summer and not having even a year to see if it survives the winter) and I find this rather irresponsible to blog like they are experts on a particular plant. I saw bloggers after seeing Edgeworthia chrysantha on a blog in PA where in some locales it lives in hardiness 7A, they heaped praise on it in Zone 4, having no experience with the plant after just popping it in the ground. Just not going to come back! Then again, a Canadian grower was talking about another plant that will not grow in Zone 5A and come back the next year, yet a blogger insisted, from Zone 4 again, that they can grow it reliably. I can’t remember the plant, but knew I couldn’t grow it in Zone 6B. Here, due to soil conditions, wind exposure and a host of other factors, some plants will not even survive conditions seven miles away, let alone across the country. I have to admit, bloggers only working in their own garden do not usually see how plants perform in many gardens around their area. Since I work in the field, I have that ability. It taught me long ago not to praise a plant unless I know it reliable where it is to be planted.

  16. Maria F. says:

    What helps me is that I’ve never liked TV at all. Of course I turn it on here and then to watch a news event, but It’s never been a great part of my life. The internet does distract me, but I’m fully aware that nothing replaces the real experience of living in the moment and interacting with the environment in real time.

    • I have my favorite shows not to miss, like Game of Thrones. I would not miss that show, but usually I watch it not when it airs. I have HBO Go (computer, iPad, even iPhone if I was really desperate) and on the TV the cable box, DVR will have it listed for the next day. I like nature shows like Nat Geo too. My next post has interesting environmental shows I watched on the Weather Channel.

  17. Lula says:

    And again you raised a one of those issues that seem to not have a right answer. I find myself lately reflecting on what if I give up blogging, or FB, or even digital photography! Digital world is taking over our lives and it definitely is having very serious consequences. I haven’t been as sick as you, but my body is already telling me that I could get sick if no changes are made. Like when you decide to give up smoking, the crucial point is you true desire of doing it. I am ready for a change and I hope everybody else is ready as well.

    • It does seem like a change is in order. I cannot figure out what that change should be since I myself have so many varied interests. I look at gardens as the greater gardens of nature, so my blog has a broad base in which to draw.

      I am sure that garden blogging has hit a saturation level. Year in and year out, many bloggers post on the exact same things that often have little value except in a socially connective way. Or they all read an article put out by a conservation/wildlife/etc. outlet (like Nat Geo) and each post you visit of different bloggers has the same exact information on how the Monarchs are doing as an example. I much prefer reading a personal experience already having read the original professionally written piece. By personal experience, I mean either raising them, going to a release, finding them in their habitat with an explanation of why they are there, or visiting in Mexico where they over-winter as a few examples. Having them visit gardens is a given. I only will use the ones in my own garden if I get many on a certain plant, like last year those that just loved the marigolds. Maybe bloggers should raise questions that have yet to be addressed, or even ones known, but question methods for instance. One thing you do is something I wish others would more often as well. You go to gardens. So many never leave their own garden, ever. I enjoy seeing gardens in places I will never get to visit.

  18. Brian Comeau says:

    You are certainly right about wasting too much time. I have to remind myself when it comes to sitting down to relax in front of the TV for a “little bit”. It can quickly turn into an evening. I avoid the new aside from sports because it is so negative. Beautiful pics – I really like the bird bath. Looks like it was a great trip. Hope you are feeling better these days!

  19. Years of being tied to long hours at a desk seem unreal now and something I cannot even fathom anymore. Those years took a toll on my health. I even resist a busy schedule…and instead like to go with the flow with my days. I now try to clump my blog reading….it helps me stay off the computer more…and social media…I don’t spend much time at all there anymore. Blogging I love so it is where my time is spent with writing and reading, but not as much as I used to. I agree. Get out and see things….my daily walks are wonderful!

    • Walking does a body wonders. I do see you on other blogs I read, so I know you enjoy blogging. Same with FB. You don’t miss birthdays! I hope your health is better now that you are retired. Happy Easter.

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