Write, or die, Matthew.

I am a killer procrastinator. I'm hoping that none of my prior students happen to run across this post - but I just have to say that I'm a prime candidate for some sort of therapy group whereby members come and confess their procrastination tactics. Currently I've taken a shower (there's no reason to shower yet this early in the day given my to-do list), watched a Barefoot Contessa, started laundry (and I sorted it as well - which I never do), checked my Reader 20 times and TweetDeck the same, and have still yet to start on the work that I know needs to be done.

I'm in Qualitative Methods at NC State this semester and we've been given the task of (surprise, surprise) completing a qualitative research project. My passions and brains and innards have been absolutely lit throughout the entire process - I love doing the research. I love the lit review. It seems like a wonderfully unplanned, never-ending treasure hunt. The more you read and search, the more you find to read and search. Hrm. That sounds like a philosopher's quote from something I may have read in the past month...

I do my best thinking when I'm not really engaged the tasks that I'm supposed to be doing. That's right, I'm a shower-thinker. Recently my showers have actually become so long that I run out of hot water. But something about the having nowhere else to be and an activity that I can do in my sleep (is so rote, I mean to say) creates the space where I can get to these incredibly deep thoughts (or so I think in my just awoken-stupor) - and sometimes insightful moments of clarity.

So I should be doing the "meat" of my research right now... filling out IRB forms and finalizing my proposal and polishing my bibliography... but I think I may have reached a point of over-saturation. Past the point of actually being able to produce knowledge via writing - maybe I read too much?! Too many thoughts in my brain to try and piece them together into a cohesive argument (or at least linear, logical thoughts processes)?

I know that my writing-lethargy is mostly self-induced. I probably have read a bit too much, not written/journaled enough. I know that my mind in it's constant worrying banter has scared me into thinking that the work that I want to do can't be done, that there own't be enough time. This blog post (I think) is meant to jog my mind and my fingers out of its cathartic state.

The research that I'm doing (or about to do, or I've already done, or I'm in the process of doing... who can tell?!) is on Twitter and late adolescence and identity and public vs. private... mix all of those in a bowl plus a month's worth of reading and you've got the state of my mind! There are two recent revelations that I've had that probably won't come as revelations to those who know me and read this (and maybe to those who don't know me and read this as well).

1) The research that I am doing emanates from a place deep within myself that is uncertain about how I am living my own life, defining my own identity via digital media. In this way my research questions are really about furthering my own understanding about how my friends, family and self are living out their lives online and offline.

2) I am inherently afraid of that which I do not fully understand and comprehend - and while I love technology and digital media and social media and the like - at the root of my being there is fear about how and why I choose to live my life online.

This second point is the subject of a much longer piece of writing that I'm just now beginning to form in my mind. Ultimately it revolves around a number of questions that point to things I'm afraid of - things that are not technology-based but are (I believe) based in the human experience.

Just a snapshot of some of these questions...
  • How much of my life should be lived online?
  • What kinds of things are appropriate to share online?
  • Where do I draw the public vs. private line in my life?
  • Are there different boundaries for what is considered private depending on the technologies that we use?
  • If I choose to live some of my live online in the "public" eye, what does that mean? How does this change my relationship to the human community?
  • Who would care to read about my life online?
  • How does my living out pieces of my life online further the greater human conversation?
  • Am I ready to be judged for what I live online?
It was in the shower that I realized the central issue was fear. That's where all these questions came from. And I'm hoping that now that I've just spilled my thoughts for a little while it might help me move forward in my work. The work that, I'm hoping, will help me get closer to the answers to some of these questions... if not identify further questions that I have about all of these thoughts.

I think I'll write now. :)

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