VIRTUAL ADDICTION

Social Sites and The Crackberry

I can't remember how it happened or actually "when" it got to a place of no return. I spent many years just e-mailing on aol, hotmail, yahoo and network solutions and somehow by 2007 I was on about ten social sites with a blackberry in hand and a lot of new virtual "friends" from all over the world.

It started with myspace to promote my music career and then it slowly progressed to other music sites like reverbnation and broadjam. I eventually gave into facebook even though a few human friends warned me for years. By 2007 I had so many e-mails coming directly through my "crackberry" in the UK that I would have an anxiety attack on a daily basis. I actually had to put my account at plaxo to rest and I no longer "check in." I have no intention to join LinkedIn unless I decide to give up being an artist (never!) and go back to my executive and studio friends from "way back when" when I embarked on a career in media and public relations in the mid 90's.

You can sort of call me "old fashioned" because I have a big love for everything "retro." I still write a lot by hand and I often talk about the past. I am very proud of my collection of film cameras dating back to different eras and I still love to use my Canon film camera for professional shoots along with my digital ones. I often like to blab about my celebrity photos published just a few years ago in National magazines without me ever using photo shop and that a very high profile magazine never changed a thing or tried to alter one photo. I actually used to spend a long time setting up backgrounds and lighting for a shoot and not depend on my computer to fix flaws that make people seem more "human." I have always been fond of Irving Penn, but also love the outrageous work of other modern photographers who digitally alter their photos. So, I'm not refusing to accept this new and modern way of life and art.

After hiding behind the camera for years I was photographed for my album cover in England by one of the top photographers there. I was surprised to see how everything looked up on the computer screen as he shot away. When I saw the final results the background and lighting looked very different then they looked the day of the shoot. It is definitely a new world and when I received all of the digital files via e-mail when I returned to the US, it was a bit shocking. I was very happy with the results and have used a lot of the photos for my cover of my new release and promotional stuff.  I often wonder if my children will ever learn to develop film in a darkroom if they ever venture into photography in the future even if they don't need to.

My "crackberry" in 2007 became my new "bestfriend" and at one point I actually could not stop deleting e-mails when I was out "living life" when they funneled through from ten different accounts. I had my business e-mail account, my personal accounts for close friends and my junk mail account along with a few others for different areas in my life. It got to a point that when I thought I left it on a train on my way to London I felt sick to my stomach like as if I just heard really bad news and when I found it I was so happy that it was like I won the lottery!

When I returned to the United States after living in the UK for a year, I banned my "Blackberry" for good. It still sits in my favorite drawer with all of my important things in it, but I refuse to get it "up and running" again. As of now, I have a simple cell phone that does not receive e-mail. People in business and my personal life know that if it is really important they can "text me" if they really need to reach me. Believe it or not this has given me more calm when I'm out and away from my computer. This way I can decide when I want to get all of my e-mails by checking into whatever account I feel like when I have the time. Oh yes and I have not even mentioned all of the unions that I belong to or entities that I need to check into from time to time for my music and all of this adsense, amazon, paypal and all of the companies on line that I pay bills to. I think I have even forgotten lots of places on the web where I set up accounts years ago and never went back to them. 

When I saw that an old highschool friend on Facebook freaked about someone stealing her Blackberry from her house on a party night, I could understand her worries. Also the fact that she may have very famous peoples contact numbers in it seemed to make the matter worse. I don't think she ever got it back. Steven Spielberg has probably gotten quite a few crank calls. I could just imagine how funny that would be! Ok, maybe not.   

The hardest part about being addicted to my "virtual world" was that I realized out of all of my friends only a few were actually staying active in my so called "virtual life." Especially on Facebook, so now I just check in to say "hello" to the few that really care and share good information in the hopes that I actually help someone. I only limit my facebook account to people I actually know or knew at some point in my life. There are a few "virtual" friends on there but only a few and I send many of my music contacts to myspace and only have the chosen few on my facebook friends list. I have quite a few friend requests sitting there on facebook that I did not accept and it makes me feel "guilty" in a virtual way. I have not been able to click the "ignore" button and now I have entered the unknown territory of "virtual guilt!" What's next? Do they have medication or therapy for someone who has "virtual addictions and virtual guilt?" 

I am old fashioned in so many ways that I have a hard time moving forward technically. I'm savvy on a computer and the internet, but I seem to have a block when it comes to learning things that may take more "thinking time." Afterall this virtual world can go "on and on" for a long time and everytime I "click" something else it takes me to another "virtual world" and then my day is over! I'm seriously thinking of joining or starting "virtual anonomous!" 

I originally joined Helium in 2007 because a friend of mine encouraged me to do so, but I was recording music and did not have the time. Hubpages is more my speed and it has now become my priority social site because I'm also being creative while I'm remaining active in the Hubpages community. The only time it gets difficult is when I want to read all of the hubs that funnel through to my e-mail and there are so many that I get a bit "overwhelmed." So, now I try to look at my favorite hubbers first and if they write more then one hub I pick my favorite hub to comment on. There are quite a few hubbers with a "very strong virtual voice!" I am really enjoying myself! When I go to Hubpages I just focus on the writing and my fellow hubbers who I like. Not too much to think about!

I guess the main thing is that with so many social sites and so many "virtual friends" and so much to catch up on, it is getting more "virtual" every day! I have to make a calendar for all of my "virtual friends" to follow up with and then I have no time for my "human friends" who are also on all of the same social sites. We already have "virtual gifts" on facebook and all sorts of ways to "spread the love" on the internet. Now a lot of ex- boyfriends can reach me too and I have a "virtual boyfriend" or two and they still think I'm in my twenties! Well, not really but it is easier to act like a teenager! I have also now had to start making folders on aol for different contacts because my inbox gets so full and e-mails get bounced back. Thank goodness my personal e-mail accounts are only for my human and virtual friends that I know (well sort of).

I'm very popular in my "virtual world" and look forward to many different "virtual adventures!" One day I will need to create a worksheet on my desktop that will tell me where to start first when I turn on my computer because sometimes I just "freeze" from feeling "overwhelmed." I know I have to check atleast five different sites before I even get started in anything creative or my in-boxs will be so full that I will fall very far behind in my "virtual world!" I check my e-mail first and then move onto my music sites and then the rest of them before I start my day. Hubpages is always a priority, but sometimes I have to go back to the hubs I want to read later on when I can really focus and ofcourse that takes more time! Shall we call it "virtual procrastination?!!!!!"   



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Comments 25 comments

carolina muscle profile image

carolina muscle 7 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

Enjoyed it!


kartika damon profile image

kartika damon 7 years ago from Fairfield, Iowa

GPAGE, this really struck a chord! I've thought about writing about this very thing but you have much more experience in the virtual world than I do and this was fascinating. It's now almost five in the morning and I got up to get a drink of water and stopped by to look at my gmail and as you see, here I am speaking to you my virtual friend and commenting on your hub! I have found the virtual world seems very real and so do the people I meet here! And, of course there is the matter of virtual addiction. LOL - I definitely put a good amount of time into hubs and my hubs community but I do get back a lot - Have read great stuff, met very interesting people, and enjoyed writing - I have a friend who got involved with online poker using only virtual money of course - that can be very addictive as well, also yoville and other virtual worlds can be very virtually vile and addictive! now back to sleep and the real world for a while!:)Kartika


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 7 years ago from malang-indonesia

I always enjoy reading your story. nice hub


GPAGE profile image

GPAGE 7 years ago from California Author

Hello carolina muscle! Thank you for stopping in....GPAGE


GPAGE profile image

GPAGE 7 years ago from California Author

kartika, you made me giggle and here I am again on here! I need to run out soon, but needed to talk to one of my new "virtual friends" who I enjoy! I always appreciate your comments and look forward to your hubs. We seem to have a lot of similar interests. Best, GPAGE


GPAGE profile image

GPAGE 7 years ago from California Author

hey prasetio!

Always nice to see you here and thank you for your comment!

GPAGE


kartika damon profile image

kartika damon 7 years ago from Fairfield, Iowa

As you see GPAGE, I'm back! OMG, we are addicts with lots of similar interests. lol :)


GPAGE profile image

GPAGE 7 years ago from California Author

ha ha ha ha ha kartika! I'm back! G


James McV Sailor profile image

James McV Sailor 7 years ago from Northern California

I have only a couple of sites and NO crackberry, but after sailing around on the Sea of Cortez for a week or two, or longer sometimes, and then coming back into civilization and hooking into the net I am typically overwhelmed with hundreds of emails and contacts and tagged and linked, etc.... It takes hours and sometimes days to wade through the malay.... and hardly anything really ever changes.... but every once in a while a happy friend with something comical or topical to say makes it worth while. Thanks for your insight.


GPAGE profile image

GPAGE 7 years ago from California Author

James.....thank you for your comments! Your sailing trips sounds divine!

I'm checking your hubs now. Best, GPAGE


privateye2500 profile image

privateye2500 7 years ago from Canada, USA, London

Great Stuff Gpage! :} wink wink - I will write you soon, I promise.

Melanie


GPAGE profile image

GPAGE 7 years ago from California Author

M.....nice to see you here! Hope all is well.....G


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada

Really enjoyed reading another one of your great hubs. I find that I can get into just as much trouble in the virtual world as in real life... however I've only started to really get involved on-line after my tailor shop burned to the ground. (ebay to replace lost things) So every new step in this virtual world especially the never-ending information I can find on my 'puter is still a total delight for me not to mention all the "virtual friends" worldwide... it is still awe inspiring to me. Thanks for sharing.

regards Zsuzsy


philip carey 61 7 years ago

I have a picture of a cabin in a remote area of Pennsylvania on my wall at work. I look at it and imagine living there--with no iPhone, no Internet, etc. A Walden Pond kind of existence. I've always preferred a few close friends, because I like depth over breadth. This hub got me thinking. Well done.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

I must be out of the loop because I've never heard that term "crackberry." That's very funny. I enjoy being your virtual friend. You are the best!


GPAGE profile image

GPAGE 7 years ago from California Author

Zsuzsy Bee! Thank you for your visit and comment! The best part is the amazing people I have met "virtually." It would be interesting to meet some of these virtual friends one day! I am having a blast! There is so much talent on hubpages! Best, GPAGE


GPAGE profile image

GPAGE 7 years ago from California Author

philip...it is so nice to see you here! I too have a few close friends that I see when I can. One of my good friends does not spend any time on the computer and she still calls me for coffee! Everyone else e-mails or sends a text. That cabin sounds divine ; Is there hot cocoa there? Best, GPAGE


GPAGE profile image

GPAGE 7 years ago from California Author

James, I love being your "virtual friend" too! I'm always happy to see you here and love to read your hubs. I would like to see you recording music again too! I'm glad you enjoyed the "crackberry" term!

G


lindagoffigan profile image

lindagoffigan 7 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Great rendition about your hubpage experience and virtual friends who you have had to select only a few to correspond with. I am one of those people with a loud virtual voice and invite you to my library of hubs. I read you from the featured authors topics. Congrats.


GPAGE profile image

GPAGE 7 years ago from California Author

lindagoggigan! WOW....u have so much going on! Awesome! You are an inspiration! I am going to check out some of your hubs soon. You seem to have a lot going on in your virtual world! I didn't even know that I was in the featured authors topics? More techy/virtual stuff....Help! ha Best, GPAGE


viryabo profile image

viryabo 7 years ago

Now i know the right terminology to use. LOL! I must spend an average of 14 to 16 hours in my virtual world, daily. And its begining to tell on my backside!

Great is the virtual world though, to get lost in sometimes. Most of my time is spent on HP and this community is like a second family home to me.

You seem to have such an exciting life. Thats the way to go through this beautiful world of ours.

GodBless.


GPAGE profile image

GPAGE 7 years ago from California Author

viryabo! You made me giggle! It is so much fun isn't it? I'm having a blast!

LOVe meeting all these amazing and talented people (you included!).

Best, G


KellyEngaldo 7 years ago

You hit a nerve with me! I made myself give up my blackberry! I could not stop emailing especially when driving! And now I live in hub land with my computer terminal! I love my virtual world but you reminded me of my real social life. Oh, well, back to my screen. Thank you very much for sharing! Great hub!


GPAGE profile image

GPAGE 7 years ago from California Author

Kelly...nice to see you here! Thanks for your comment! I'm glad you liked this hub ; Best, GPAGE


poetlorraine 6 years ago

hi you have another virtual friend, i enjoyed that

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