I often get questions about how I get the time to blog and maintain all my online activity in addition to regular work, family life and all those other important things we all have to do. My answer is: I don’t watch television and I know my tools.
A while ago Clay Shirky did some math and figured that Americans could produce one complete wikipedia project every weekend if they stopped watching commercials on TV.
If you haven’t read it already, this is essential: Gin, Television, and Social Surplus. A must-read!
(Image: Clay Shirky at DLD 08)
And he’s not only showing you how wikipedia is a tiny project. He has some thoughts on gaming as well:
In this same conversation with the TV producer I was talking about World of Warcraft guilds, and as I was talking, I could sort of see what she was thinking: “Losers. Grown men sitting in their basement pretending to be elves.”
At least they’re doing something.
Did you ever see that episode of Gilligan’s Island where they almost get off the island and then Gilligan messes up and then they don’t? I saw that one. I saw that one a lot when I was growing up. And every half-hour that I watched that was a half an hour I wasn’t posting at my blog or editing Wikipedia or contributing to a mailing list.
(Via Gapingvoid on Twitter)
10 thoughts on “How to get enough time for blogging and online activity”
While I definitely agree with this perspective, particularly when applied to commercial television, I also have to admit that I get some great ideas for posts while watching television.
Of course, I’m watching channels that apply to my areas of interest and blogging. A number of the channels have limited advertising. And, truth be told, I’m not completely engaged in watching as I often have my laptop in front of me and am working on various projects (including blogging and Wikipedia) while I’m taking in African tribal customs on the Discovery Channel or a Jesse James documentary on the History Channel or almost anything in HD that isn’t sports or network television.
As for computer or online games, I haven’t had time for those in years. (Was Myst the last one or was it back to “advent” on UNIX?) And Shirky is, in my opinion, correct. Plenty of people let their television viewing (or gaming) control them and separate them from the world instead doing something to engage it. Anything.
Life is short. Contribute!
Not watching television. Not reading books. Not listening to music. Not interested in sports. And so on. People say all these things. Which is ok.
But I tend to think that a healthy mix of things always is better than just leaving something completely out. So a little of television – given that you choose – is wonderful.
And if people want more perspective: Read more books. A 200 page well-written book about a new interesting subject can give you more inspiration and new knowledge than 10 000 blog posts and days of television…
My 50 cents.
“I don’t watch television” is not an exact answer. In my own unofficial statistics I watch 1-2 hours a week.
And of course I agree. Variation:
have been tracking Clay Shirky myself and, as part of my daily study of various leaders (peoples & companies), I recently did a cliff notes writeup of his presentation @ TechExpo 2.0 around the topic here:
So if you want another man’s opinion on what he emphasized (like how Gin drove the Industrial revolution and how TV is our Gin today) might be worth a gander. Either way … good stuff.
Hope it helps
Everything in moderation as they say. I watch very little linear TV now. Bought a big 42″ plasma but mainly use it for watching DVD’s and the soon to be installed PS3.
I do watch football and that gave me the idea for writing a blog about the changes in sport brought about by digital media. So funnily enough I guess http://www.2stations.com is where I use my surplus from watching less TV to think and write about something that is still mainly viewed on TV.
Shirky also wrote a good piece on situated software way back in 2004 that is worth a read. Design for the few and let scale sort itself out elsewhere. Smart.
In our home, TV-shows works as “something we do together” on evenings. So cutting back on TV time in favor of blogging and doing stuff online would mean cutting back on time spent with my fiance. So I guess it’s a hard balance act. Perhaps I should get her into starting her own blog or something. :p
An important point. And it’s also an important point that TV used to be blamed for destroying our families and break up on communication. Now TV is the social box and the computer is blamed for destroying communication… 🙂
But then again we have the “intranet” (norsk?). You can keep on blogging with your family members, without anyone else seeing it!
You used do discuss “watch television” somewhere, can’t find it right now. But I mostly watch Miami Vice dvd’s on my mac these days, can I say I do or don’t watch television? Be careful with that.
Miami Vice is btw far better than its reputation and our memory of it. Season 2 highly recommended !
[…] read an great article Gin, Television, and Social Surplus via eirikso.com, that I was determined to post on but haven had the chance. To much watching TV no […]