In praise of idleness…kind of

At some point in grad school, I found myself reading Bertrand Russell’s “In Praise of Idleness” and while the details of his argument are lost to me now, the title and the simple message that it carries has always stuck with me—I’ve always thought the title of this essay would be a good name for some brewery’s IPA too, “In Praise of Idleness IPA.”   As someone with no real digital identity, Stewart’s blog “in praise of living in public” just made me think of how exhausting “living in public” sounds—you have to select, cultivate, and maintain your digital identity and presence.  Then there is the question of how authentic are you being if you have to “cultivate” and “maintain” a digital identity. I’m exhausted just thinking about it and it makes me quite comfortable in my current state of digital idleness.  But, breaking out of our comfort zone and trying something new is usually a good thing and maybe Stewart is right that the only path forward, with the help of DigPins, is through.

For myself, I can see this process playing out the same way as when I started running for exercise.  At first, a ½ mile is going to be terrible and require what seems like way too much effort for the short distance traveled. But eventually, less effort will be required (right?) and terrible might actually give way to some form of enjoyment from the process (maybe?).  That is my hope at least and at the end of this experience if no form of digital residency is appealing then I can retreat back to digital observer, visitor and consumer.

(1) Comment

  1. autumm

    Hey Mitchell,

    Thanks for this post. I think that often the V&R stuff comes off as advocating for the resident way of being on the web. Dave White tries to dispel this in one of the videos but the focus on resident makes many think that it is being advocated for.

    I think the most important thing is just realizing that visitor and resident are different and the thing that makes someone more proficient in one over the other is practice.

    I’m actually finding that I’m not as resident as I have been in the past. Projects like DigPINS keep me in things but relocating and changing jobs had an effect on how much time and energy I had for my blog and other projects.

    I think these things ebb and flow at different parts of your life and depending on what kind of projects you are involved with at the time.

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