URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator. A URL is a specially-formatted string of text used by Web browsers and other network software to define a location on the world wide web.
And just as everything in these polar worlds mirror each other, it makes sense that someone would string together some letters to reflect the opposite of virtual reality, hence IRL or, In Real Life.
Early this year I decided to deactivate my Facebook account. Precisely because I seemingly spent more time online than I was being proactively living an IRL existence.
A certain tv commercial for a car was on a loop in my head. In this advertisement, there was a hipster 20-something y.o. checking out her parents Facebook profile and commenting how pathetic that her mom and dad only had 20 Facebook friends (OMG! WTH? Seriously, mom and dad, only 20 friends??) She speaks to the camera saying mom and dad should live their life, seize the day, carpe diem. While she’s on her computer, several clips show her parents in their car driving to a ski slope to go skiing, driving to the mountains to go rock climbing and driving to a party with their real life friends.
For me this 2 minute ad captured in a nutshell how the paradigm has shifted. And in an instant I had the urge to disengage from my URL love affair to engage in my IRL.
Today however, I am back on Facebook. My primary motivation was to promote this blog, after all I did have over 400+ friends on Facebook. NOTE: having 400+ Facebook friends does not constitute as a ‘humblebrag’ (kudos to Wittels for coining this term) moment. Some people have thousands of friends online, which makes my 400 friends pale in comparison to most. For me, even if only a fraction of my FB friends read my blog then I would deem that a small success. Okay now that is probably a humblebrag moment.
But now that I’m back in the URL landscape, and trying to navigate the complex world of blogging,
I know that the best way to balance both worlds is effective online time management. As tempting as it is to check on our smartphones every 5 minutes (my husband swears my iPhone is an extension of my limbs), I know I need to earmark certain hours of the day to my blogging and keep the rest of my day to living. My pledge to my IRL is short and sweet; thou shall not tweet, Like or Instagram while Im out on dinner with husband or friends, and will not keep my smartphone on my bedside table so as not to tempt me from doing all of the above when I just can’t fall asleep. And last but not the least, instead of living vicariously through my Facebook friends’ photos of exotic travel locations or having “party-envy” when I see my friends in far off places having the energy to either throw parties in their homes or meeting up with their IRL friends for dinner, I will strive to make it a reality in my life too.
Because the less time I spend online gives me more time to interact with the people in my circle, In Real Life.