Digital Obesity | Personal Bandwidth


Apologies for those of you who’ve been waiting on tenterhooks for the Facebook article I blogged about a while ago (it’s OK – I don’t really believe that 😉 It got bumped to December’s issue, so will be out shortly. I’ve led two discussion groups recently, one in a crypt, one in a library – go figure – along the same lines as the article, and one of the themes that has come up in discussion both times is that of personal bandwidth, or digital obesity. Check email / check blog / check phone for messages / check other blog / check Facebook / check work email… hell, you could spend all day checking devices. And that’s before you’ve even tried to get them synced.

I’ve met about 10 or 15 people this month who’ve talked – to use this metaphor – about dieting. Just trying to thin out the time they spend online checking stuff. Some have closed Facebook accounts, others have deleted messaging services. All are trying to spend more time with actual people. And, to be honest, I’ve been doing the same. (Though, ironically, I’ve just met a wonderful blogger who lives in the next road)

I wonder what our kids will be doing when they get to the age of virtual communication. Will the childhood obesity problem hit their bandwidth as well as their waistbands? Or will things have become more integrated? I’m thinking it may be a bit of both, but I’m always pleased when some integration technology makes things easier now. Like Gmail doing IMAP. Or Bento – this new offering from Filemaker that is a one-stop database for all your contacts, events etc.. Looks good.

Either way, I think my thesis in the article still holds: we are desperate for connection, and will get it down wires if we don’t get it down the street. Question is how much of which is healthy.


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3 responses to “Digital Obesity | Personal Bandwidth”

  1. Interesting phrase: digital obesity…
    The thing I’ve found interesting about Facebook is how effective it’s been in creating real “live” get-togethers. The most well-attended parties we’ve ever hosted were ones we simply announced on Facebook 2 days before the event… not sure what that dynamic is about, but I use Facebook to invite people to parties now, before I use email or snail mail or phone calls.

  2. steve lancaster

    Idly browsing the Guardian Online site for signs of articles about the emerging church conversation, and I found this:
    “Friday March 9, 2001
    The Guardian
    Kester Brewin, 28, maths teacher and Beki Bateson, 29, projects co-ordinator for a human rights charity.
    In the kitchen they have: Tin sardines, tin anchovies, 2 tins baked beans, tin green lentils, jar lentils, jar olives, box couscous, packet rice cakes, loaf bread, jar of wild rice, 1/2 packet Oat Crunchies, 2 pitta breads, 2 bags flour, yeast, 3 peppers, harlequin squash, garlic bulb, 2 onions, leek, 1 apple, 5 mandarin oranges, grapes, parsley, piece of ginger root, lettuce, rocket, mushrooms, 2 bananas, home-made vegetable curry for two, Cheddar cheese, Flora, 1 yoghurt, packet sausages, packet bacon, small smoked mackerel, light olive oil, extra-virgin olive oil, lemon curd, Marmite, raspberry jam, marmalade, 2 bottles Worcestershire sauce, 2 tubes tomato puree, balsamic vinegar, 2 jars mustard, 2 bottles ketchup, mayonnaise, houmous, small tub olives, filter coffee, instant coffee, 2 bottles red wine, 2 bottles Taybeh beer.
    Estimated survival time: 6 days.”
    I guess that’s you ;). My question is three-fold:
    1. What have you got in your digital kitchen and what would you say your digital estimated survival time is?
    2. What has the emerging church got in its kitchen, and what (on current estimates) is its estimated survival time?
    3. Six and a half years on, do you still have the Marmite and Taybeh beer?

  3. Ha – that’s what happens when you have friends working on the Guardian who need to scrape together people for pieces at the last minute.
    My digital survival time? We’re all only as good as our best battery life. Which is a good thing.