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It’s 2016 and I’ve been busy up to my eyeballs with work and clearing out stuff (be it physical or spiritual). At the dawn of turning another year forward, I have decided to put the brakes on and curb some Internet distractions. Am I going to find refuge as a monk among the Iona community of Scotland and quietly meditate on Scottish Independence? Perhaps in another lifetime…

On a more serious note, I have made an executive decision to curb my online habits, or should I say, worldly distractions.

YouTube

I don’t bother with YouTube anymore. I have a primary Google account that I use to sync accounts across my mobile devices for emails and all that jazz, though I tend to subscribe to channels of interest, mostly creative outlets and technology stuff. Though I don’t bother myself to watch much YouTube anyway, despite having the pleasure of bypassing adverts. I also don’t treat YouTube as a replacement source to watching terrestrial TV. In fact, I hardly watch TV, except when BBC’s adaptation of Sherlock airs with a new series. I like BBC’s Sherlock, and I find the production quality very good and the story very clever, and best of all, a typical series consists of 3 episodes at 90 minutes each. Three weeks later and I am done with TV altogether.

E-mail

I have far-too-many e-mail accounts for various reasons. My primary e-mail provider is with Outlook (formerly known as Hotmail). This past weekend I finally sorted out my e-mail filters, which allows me to see a relatively sparse inbox each day, whilst all my dozens of newsletters that I subscribe to (yes, dozens!) that I never have the time to digest and read are filtered and stored in separate folders for safe keeping.

I realise that I use e-mails less and less, but mostly because I hardly e-mail folk to communicate with others (need consistent email buddies for that!), which is something I dearly love and miss. I guess that is partially why I love to write reflections to the abyss that is the Internet, but my underlying motivation and original intention is to reflect my given time, struggles and joys with the LORD in an open blog format.

Twitter

It is a daily habit to browse my Twitter feed every day purely for the latest news. I have many muted accounts that I follow for obvious reasons, as I simply want to avoid my poor eyes scrolling through screeds of quirks or sayings, as opposed to something relevant.

Ironically, the main culprits are news feeds with distorted views of the world, and evangelical Christian pastors who spend more time crafting “wise” human sayings to fit 140 characters than they are bothered to quote the LORD Jesus Christ. And don’t get me started with the me-centred go-buy-my-book-it-will-change-your-life plug. Go figure. It bugs me more when it’s a pastor (or a worldly big-name circuit conference pastor) who loves drilling into the Word with expository nuggets, and yet, we always get distracted by the words of the celebrated pastor, rather than our celebrated LORD and Saviour… and I am NOT being cynical, but simply voicing my concern! And pastors wonder why God’s children are so distracted with the world instead… it’s clearly no wonder!

I now only focus my precious time on select channels, mainly to learn of the unfolding culture and landscape of the Church locally and overseas, and various technology and design accounts, so that I strive to stay informative of the latest news, when such information is needed. And of course, some actual humans to learn of some insightful thoughts, or to encourage and learn from, or walk alongside.

Facebook

Well, I have an account… but I don’t exactly log in to Facebook on a daily basis, and I still have around 17 “friends” pending my acceptance. And I am noticing folk with double-life accounts like Jekyll and Hyde, which I tend to avoid like the plague. Facebook is great for spying and learning one’s gossip (if you will), but I literally guard my heart with this one. So yeah, I tend to log in once a month.

Conclusion

I am sure we have obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) when it comes to hogging the Internet on a daily basis. And yes, there are folk from our inside circles who contradict their own teachings with Internet habits and rituals. As for me, I would rather use my “social” time to proactively acquire new skills that is worthy of a future investment, be it for securing a job that can turn into a me-centred “career” that doesn’t tickle me with excitement anyway, as folk who know me. Personally, I am *still* focused on a particular venture where I can work towards building for God’s Kingdom outside my comfort zone.

~Richard