Welcome to austinagrodolce … My family and I garden with more intention and enthusiasm than allocated budget or overall design plan. It shows. Wildlife populations don't seem to notice our lack of cohesive design, they just like the native plants here. It seems by growing local we've thrown out a welcome mat. Occasionally, we're surprised at who (and what) shows up.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

unsubscribe me!

One thing has led to another and I have two discoveries to share.

The first discovery involves a form of bandwidthism, a schism of sorts that has evolved in the blogging world between those with dial-up woes, and the rest of the interweb world.

As is all too typical of the "haves", I was going merrily along my way, posting photos, BIG photos, at times between nearly every paragraph of a post, convinced that the visuals were every bit as important as the text.

And they were, they most certainly are. I was correct about that, but not at all in the way I originally envisioned.

After reading a post on a recently discovered website, I was quite chastened by the author delineating that, if she had not visited certain web sites recently, it was chiefly due to her frustration with the agonizingly slow process of waiting for large photos to load, especially when accompanied by little in the way of explanatory or engaging text to keep her occupied while the images arrived.

There are all sorts of NSFW (not suitable for work) warnings to be seen on posts, but I don't recall regularly seeing anything warning dial-up users of an image-weighted post.

I had not only been ignoring the problem I had been oblivious to it. It struck me. How very broadband of me to assume that everybody would be content to wait, textless, while my three photos of a front porch berry arrangement crawled across the wires.

I am not certain what a proper response to this new awareness might look like, but I do know I will try to be more aware of how and when I use images in future posts. There will be times and there are certainly formats that are all about the imagery, but here especially, I like to think it is the text that is the work horse.

On to my second epiphany for this week.

At some point in the remote past, I had been opening my email program only to experience a dearth of arrivals. I was not bright enough to be properly grateful for that I suppose, and along the way I signed up for all sorts of "newsletters" and "alerts" and automated daily post type services. This meant that, whether or not I had anything in the way of real communiques from friends or relatives, I had what at the time was a comfortably stuffed looking in box.

Gradually however, I found myself scanning the "from" column to find the "real" mail scattered sparsely in between the automated stuff. The posts from people I really did wish to read, the actual emails from friends directly and only written to me, along with the few daily updates I still enjoyed perusing, rather than those I was feeling obligated to at least skim.

I now find myself in a situation where I will be away from all that is "online" for a span of days. Not wishing to return to hundreds of unread missives, I determined the need to unsubscribe my email account from everything of a daily delivery nature.

While I knew it would be relatively easy to do so, what I did not anticipate was the rush of lightness and a very distinct feeling of liberation that arrived along with a batch of "you have been unsubscribed" confirmatory emails. The relinquishing of these various daily shared obligations has triggered a sense of deep relief, not loss.

How did I get to a point where I was allowing myself to feel obligated to read almost everything that arrived electronically? I certainly do not feel I must open, much less read the various snail mail assortment I find in each day's postal delivery. I pursue what attracts my interest and ignore (recycle) the rest.

I'm not altogether clear how this intentional self immersion took on such unintentional emotional weight, but I am delighted to have raised my head back above those waters for now. Once I am back at the keyboard regularly again if I find it too time consuming to hunt down certain resources on a daily basis, I will resubscribe.

In the meantime, I am looking forward to an abrupt weaning away from a pattern of hours spent in front of this glowing screen. A change of pace, even when not altogether intentional, is always instructive if not thoroughly enjoyable. Whatever I miss much, I will enjoy that much more upon my eventual return. Whatever I forget about will be fine without me and vice versa.

It is a gorgeous day. I intend to get out into it, for once leaving my camera and my constantly post composing mindset behind.

While I am away, fare thee well, my friends. I will be back before too long and I hope you will return as well. In the meantime, feel free to weigh in with your own reactions to what you find in your email inbox in the comments section below. Here are a few queries to get the comment juices flowing....

Aside from the patently junky, are you getting only what you really want in your email inbox?

Do you feel obligated to stay subscribed, and past that, to regularly read everything you try out for a time?

Have you developed a sense of loyalty to certain sites? If so, does that serve only as boon to the time you spend at your computer or does obligation lurk just beneath the surface?

Let's hear it - what is your reaction when you open your email inbox?


Flapjacks said...

i feel no obligations to stay subscribed. i delete at will. i unsubscribe with glee.

Anonymous said...

I don't subscribe to blogs at all. Mainly because I don't know how!

Have a great time away from the computer!