The internet is new. People are not. Ergo – the internet is at most, "alright". It's just the same people having the same conversations through a different medium, right? "But no!" I hear you cry "it gave us mass communication! It mobilised a government overthrow, it brought us Facebook – how could it be boring?"
When is the last time you spent an hour on the internet without realising where the time went? Recently, probably? This afternoon? The hour just gone? Can't really put a day and time on it? I guess it wasn't that memorable an experience then, was it?
I should admit that this diatribe is extremely hypocritical of me. And the irony of sitting at my desk, with Google Chrome (and season five of Doctor Who) ticking away in the background while I type, is not lost on me. My ever-increasing internet time sees my virtual life threatening to take over my real one – or what's left of it. In fact the last time I had a night out with the girls we spent the first twenty minutes checking in and posting photos, and approving each other's check-ins, and tweeting about the fact that we'd arrived, and liking each other's status updates and retweeting each other's tweets...by the time actual greetings were exchanged it was time for another round of drinks. Then a rule was made: no phones. Nope, not even if you get a text. Not even if it's from your mum and the house is on fire. No phones. No Facebook. No exceptions. And we survived.
Now, in the long list of 'white person problems', complaining that the internet is boring probably takes the cake. You know why? Because it's a pretty ridiculous problem to have. If a book was boring, you'd stop reading. If a TV show was boring, you'd turn it off. If a DVD was boring, you'd stop, eject, and frisbee the damned thing back under the couch. So why can't we disconnect?
If you're lacking the motivation to do something different, maybe it's because you forgot that other options do exist. Try one of the ideas below.
A roll of film for anticipation - or polariods for instant gratification
Rather than getting snap-happy with your iPhone and then jumping straight to Instagram or Spaceface, dig out your old digital (or film) camera and take the time to find a really good shot. Climb a tree and get arty with the leaves and caterpillars, or go to your favourite rooftop bar and get a birds-eye street view, or cityscape. Make it worth printing and then pop in to Officeworks and order yourself a poster-sized piece of your very own art. Now that I like.
2. Read something – something that took more than an hour to write. Read a piece of writing that changed the world. Read an artist's manifesto or a classic novel. Read an interview with someone extraordinary. Remember what writing can be when it's been loved and slaved over for years. Read something that's been written by an author who's not chomping at the bit to hit 'post'. The State Library of Victoria is a good place to start.
3. Get some (literal) face-time
Parties don't have to be expensive; have a bonfire or host a Low Tea. There are also many cafes in Melbourne that will let you sit on the same coffee for an hour or two without disturbing you – hey presto, quality and quantity time. And stop whinging that no-one caters to your delicate needs – Melbourne, as well as pretty much everywhere these days, will bend over backwards to satisfy your lactose-intolerant, fructose-intolerant celiac needs at a variety of allergy-friendly cafes. If you're heading to the city, grab an inside table at The Cupcake Family and settle in to watch the world go by. While, you're at it, get out your (film) camera to take some more photos for that (bedroom) wall.
4. Go ride a bike
Most Australians now live a sedentary lifestyle, focussed on a screen rather than the wide open road. Melbourne (and other major or tourist-prone cities) have numerous bike-hire options – why not grab a friend and explore the bike paths along the Yarra or through the city? Try Rentabike @ Fed Square or subscribe to Melbourne Bike Share.
5. Feed your brain
This is an easy one because you get to squeeze out that last five minutes of internerd time while you download a podcast. Switch off the dubstep and check out Lecturefox, where you'll find the world's best speaking about what they do best. Pop your earphones in and find a nice park to relax in while you absorb anything from Game Design to Medicine, Cosmology, Economics, History – even 'The Amazing World of Bubbles' or 'The Birth and Death of Stars'. Enjoy.
Love the focus of this article Emily. The irony wasn't lost on me either, as I wouldn't have read your piece if I hadn't been online. I would also add: spend time with your friends and family, as you obliquely point out. Where would we be without real friends in the flesh; the ones who know us and stick by us through thick and thin, as opposed to Facebook 'Friends' and Twitter Feeds?