Home/Rod Dreher/Useless Internet Communications Crap

Useless Internet Communications Crap

Over the weekend, a friend’s request for something caused me to realize that I’ve been a member of Google+ for a long time — since it was launched, I think — and I cannot remember the last time I checked it. I haven’t shut my Google+ account down because … I don’t know why.

I use my Twitter account sparingly, but I’m just amazed by how much so many of my friends use it, and how adept they are at it. I can’t keep up with the deluge in my Twitter feed, and pretty much only read the last 30 messages whenever I check it. I’ve been tweeting for over a year, and only this weekend figured out how the direct messaging system works. People have been sending me direct messages on Twitter for ages, and I never saw them. I could do without Twitter, but I keep it because, well, everybody else has it.

I have been a member of LinkedIn for years, but I can’t think of a single time that I’ve used it. Not once. Probably 19 out of every 20 LinkedIn requests I get are from people I don’t know at all, not even tangentially. I’ve tried to keep LinkedIn relatively clear by not accepting invitations from people I don’t know, but I have a bad conscience about it, and hey, why should I refuse their invitations? It’s not like I ever use LinkedIn.

Facebook, that’s hopeless. I began using it more this year, when my book came out, and I find that I like keeping up with my friends on it. But I accept almost every invitation to be somebody’s friend. Result: I’d say 80 to 90 percent of my Facebook friends are people I don’t know. I almost never look at my FB feed now, because it takes too long to sort through it to find posts from the people I really care about.

By the way, I have three e-mail accounts, and reams of unanswered e-mails stacked up in them. It’s not that I haven’t read them all; I’ve read most of them, it’s just that I’ve saved them thinking I would answer the e-mails, but never got around to it. On my private email account, I have at this moment 745 e-mails stacked up. It frequently happens that the people who write me e-mails that I really want to respond to, and set aside until I have time to write something really thoughtful in response, never hear from me; the fact that I set their e-mail aside precisely because I wanted to respond at length is what causes those e-mails to drop way down my queue. All the time I’ll get an e-mail from someone saying, “I had written you a while back, but you never responded, so I thought…” etc. Sure enough, I’ll do a search, and there that person’s original e-mail will be, either in my queue or in my spam bucket (AOL, which hosts my main e-mail account, can be weird about what it shunts into spam).

I couldn’t do without e-mail, so that’s just a problem I’ll have to live with. But if aliens dropped a bomb tomorrow that wiped out Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+, it would change my life almost not at all, except by removing four sources of anxiety over all the information I’m not managing. There ought to be a word for the anxiety one feels over all the information one is not managing.


about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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