Las Vegas: The Addiction (not Gambling, Internet / Blogging)

In my last post I lamented the near lack of free internet in Las Vegas and how I couldn’t see paying for it. I was planning on schlepping my laptop to the few free hotspots, just to check my email a time or two.

My husband said I should just bite the bullet and pay for it since I wouldn’t be happy if I didn’t. And he was ever, ever so right. I don’t know what made me think that I could not buy it when I have my laptop with me and have wireless right there waiting for me, all I had to do was put my credit card number in and I was surfing. In some weird way, it was infinitely worth paying the $10/day to be able to get on and check my email, check my blogs, look things up and write posts whenever I wanted.

We are quite happy to play penny slots for all our little gambling (and free drinks) breaks, but I’ll put $10 a day in just to be able to be connected. And I think, how much do I really use it? Couldn’t I just do a couple of hauls to a hotspot and be done? And of course, I could do that if I was broke. But I’ve got $10 in my pocket and its going to buy me access.
And although for probably no good reason since I doubt that many people read my blog, I still feel a need? desire? responsibility? fear of losing people? to make sure I post regularly. Sean and I were discussing this in the elevator, about the whole blogging experience and the mindset of a blogger. About how for the blogger, the act of blogging seems to be a really creative outlet and a way to clarify one’s thoughts. And the surprise of having people actually read and get something out of something you have posted is both gratifying and a real impetus to keep blogging. But the downside is that it is easy to start feeling a pressure to please people instead of just doing it and letting whoever may be interested read it and not worrying about it.

It is also somewhat addictive to have a lot of people read what you wrote. I blogged about the Skype outage last week, just because I use Skype and had wondered why I couldn’t connect and then found out it had crashed. And suddenly I had a ridiculous (for me) number of hits on my post. I posted it at 4:30pm and by 4:34 I had like 600 people read (or at least view) it. I thought I was getting spammed or attacked or something.

But it was just that everyone was trying to find out what was going on. So I wrote another post the next day with more information and it was really being read. And then another. And at some point, I realized that I had quit blogging about it just because I had something to say about it and started blogging it because it was a hot topic and people would read what I wrote. I knew if I wrote something even remotely interesting or intelligent about Skype right then, people would read it.

While there isn’t anything inherently wrong with writing about what people are interested in, when I find myself writing just for other people’s interest when I’ve pretty much lost interest in it myself and even worse, just to increase my hit count, I have to re-examine what I am doing and why.

I have always been a writer and have been on many lists and boards where people read and responded to what I wrote. But this is something beyond that. This is a medium that has people coming to my blog to read what I have to say. And a surprising (to me) number of them. And they even come back to see what else I have written.

I’ve never had a group of people who wanted to read what I had to say and I have to say that I really get a great deal of satisfaction and gratification from it. But it can also be addictive. I want to enjoy that people read what I write, but I don’t want to need it. I don’t want to obsess about it.

And I think it is wise for people to be aware of some of these pitfalls and potential dangers that are inherent in many of the Web 2.0 tools. They are wonderful, creative outlets and can enhance one’s life immensely. But I think everyone needs to make sure they are monitoring their involvement and motivation.

It is a truly fascinating time for people with all the amazing ability there is to create and interact. But just like me, I’m sure there are others who may need to step back periodically and look at it and make sure they are in control and are not being manipulated (most likely, by themselves).  And really, who shouldn’t do that regularly about most everything anyway?

Thank you for reading :)

~Susan Mellott

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