An internet scrapbook with a shuffle button. (They're the best things...!!)
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In his book Hamlet’s Blackberry, author William Powers gives us tips from the pages of history for navigating the virtual world with grace. Here are my favorites:
Roman philosopher Seneca chose a single idea to focus on each day — a theme for the day. Though we’re constantly bombarded by information and images, we can simplify to some extent by working in one computer window at a time, or at least on a single gadget at a time.
Shakespeare urged us to pick the right tool for the job at hand. Newest doesn’t necessarily mean best. The tactile nature of a book might beat out the storage power of a Kindle when we’re relaxing on a beach or snuggling up by a fire.
Socrates took long walks to escape the crowds of Athens. Our hundreds of online “friends” can make us feel smothered. By connecting with a micro-network like a book club or an alumni group, we can get more quality time out of our interactions.
Benjamin Franklin kept a “virtue diary,” tracking his progress each day in a variety of dimensions. Like Ben we can build positive rituals into our digital lives. I periodically choose character strengths to foster in my online communication. “Prudence” might not sound like fun, but looking through its lens gives me a new perspective from which to connect.
Thoreau created a private haven just outside Concord, Mass. We can designate “Walden zones” to give ourselves some digital distance. Set boundaries and minimize distractions by picking specific places in your home for different online activities, and create sanctuaries of your own to recharge.