Two years after we purchased the computer, my brother-in-law decided that we should go in for a broadband internet connection. This was an important decision for me. At that time I did not even know that a broadband connection was so easily and cheaply available. It went a long way towards obliterating what Richard Dawkins called ‘the anesthetic of familiarity’ which used to bore me to death. It enabled me to escape to the blogosphere where, to quote Bertrand Russell, 'one, at least, of our nobler impulses can escape from the dreary exile of the natural world.' Till then I was the perfect couch potato spending my time watching inane programmes and reading news of the "he said she said" variety or just staring at the walls. And of course, listening to halfalogues.
In an interview, Harsha Bogle said that you should surround yourself with people smarter than you so that you keep learning something. I meet plenty of smart people but the problem is that the conversation will not flow. They will not be sure if I am interested in the topic or about my responses. I will not say much because it takes too much time and because Jaya will be cut-off from the conversation during that time. I found that reading blogs written by very smart people was a good substitute for these conversations that I cannot have. Moreover, I could choose blogs on my current areas of interest which would not interest most of my acquaintances.
So I read quite a few blogs on evolution, some astronomy, some neuroscience, a science magazine etc. (Etc: A sign to make others believe that you know more than you actually do.) When I want something light, I look at a few eggcorns or admire a few kitlers... I am more like the Romans than the Greeks. Blame it on my inner capuchin monkey. (I remember reading that a generalist knows less and less about more and more while a specialist knows more and more about less and less.) Now you know how I get links. The nurse knows where to click the mouse on the screen so I can read without constantly calling Jaya.I just have to shrug at the occasional mouso. Don't think I read all posts in the blogs that I have mentioned. I rapidly skim the headings and read the posts that pique my interest.
I don't frequent social networking sites like Twitter for reasons that another blogger has specified. Another reason is specific to me. I have to get someone else to do my work for me so when Jaya is free I get her to type things that are higher on my list of priorities. Apart from indulging in a bit of "ambient awareness", I don't spend much time in social networks so I don't suffer from social network fatigue.
Aside - Every year, the literary agent John Brockman asks several public intellectuals to answer some question or another, and posts it on the Internet to provoke discussion. This year's question is "How is the Internet changing the way you think?"