Internet Realism

I’d like to quickly talk about the idealization going on with the internet. These last few days (or maybe a week or two?) away from my own website have helped me realize something oh-so important…

The internet is only important if you make it important.

It’s funny because as I was sitting and thinking about this I was also debating going through my RSS feeds. I figured, the world has survived this long without me reading them, I’m still human without going through them, why bother? To illustrate my lack of control, yes, I did read them. I also happened upon a friend of mine who shares my thoughts. Scrivs says “I don’t need the web”.

I don’t either.

I used to. I used to think I needed to read my websites, check on Flickr photos and update my blog with something clever or witty. I thought I needed to do this (among many other things) every day. You know exactly what I’m talking about. Your routine might include surfing digg or checking news on Slashdot or even browsing new additions on deviantart. I realize none of these things really affect my life. So, I sat down and asked myself:

Which websites affect me and my life?

I thought about this even beyond the ‘web 2.0′ scene. I mean, think about the internet and all the websites you happen to visit. Do any matter? The following are the only websites that have some bearing on my life.

  1. GMail – Email from friends, family, school, etc. Primary means of communication. A close second is my cell phone.
  2. Google Calendar – In order to save precious brain space I dump everything onto my calendar. I wouldn’t know what I was doing at any given point without it.
  3. – Naturally I do everything from registration to pay tuition to check homework through various portals. I can’t imagine college life without the internet.
  4. Wells Fargo, American Express, Vanguard, IndyMac, EmigrantDirect – I manage all my finances (checking, savings, CDs and a Roth IRA) online. I haven’t stepped in a bank for a solid year or two (and that was just because the ATM broke). I’ve never spoken to anyone from my banks on the phone.
  5. Facebook – Another primary means of communication and socializing in college. Don’t get me started on the news feed debate though…

That’s it! That’s my five! There are over a dozen sites on my bookmark toolbar in FireFox, though. How can that be? Do I really need all of them? Newsvine? Maybe. Or can I simply pick up the WSJ between classes? Flickr? It’s nice, but not necessary. More than 2 million pictures are uploaded to Facebook each day, that seems like the place I need to be paying attention. What about meebo? Nah, not really.

I dare you, reflect on your daily websites and how they affect your lives. Link back or leave a comment and let me know your thoughts. How much time are you going to save just by reading your own words here? Personally, I’ll be saving at least two hours each day.

Wow, 2 hours? Look how easy it’s going to be for me to ‘earn back’ two full days this month!