Okay before I start, I acknowledge the irony inherent in complaining about the internet on the internet. But I’m not going to stand outside my house with a megaphone telling everyone about it, because, well, I’d probably get beaten up by my neighbours.
I’m not sure whether I’ve just had information overload, or whether it’s a symptom of depression, or what, but I’m finding my addiction to the internet troublesome at the moment. There is so much information out there, so much you can do, so many people doing so many things (with varying degrees of quality), so many ways of finding out information about people, and so many ways for people to find out information about you…sometimes it gets a bit too much. A step back and a deep breath is advisable.
For the most part, I control the information I put out there. I write this blog, and I choose what I will and won’t write about (and if you’re a regular reader you know I write about just about anything, so that doesn’t bother me so much). I post photos to my Flickr page. I post random snippets of my day to Twitter. I poke people on Facebook. I’ve signed up with all sorts of sites that collect my information, from the books in my library to the songs I’m listening to right now. I love the confluence and the immediacy of information, but then occasionally it gets overwhelming.
I think the tipping point was setting up an Etsy store. Etsy’s a great website full of handmade stuff, and there are some beautiful things featured for sale. It seemed like the perfect marriage between my love of the internet and my love of making things. I had a little scheme for selling the bits and pieces of craft that I make, and maybe even helping Karen sell some of her superb knitting. I set it all up, took photos, wrote some copy and excitedly put a couple of Karen’s hats and a shawl up for sale last night. So rather than just putting bits of trivia out there, I was putting something tangible and saleable online and hoping that people would find it appealing.
I woke up this morning to a disgruntled note from the designer of one of the hats, telling me we’d breached copyright by posting her design (I don’t know – was she waiting there, refreshing her browser every five minutes to see whether anyone was selling her designs?). I immediately apologised and took the items down. Karen did a bit of research and now we’re much better informed, but can’t sell the knitting (it all seems a bit ridiculous to me, but if that’s the way it is you have to respect it – read Karen’s post for the full details).
It just left me feeling so flat and disillusioned (although the designer probably felt that way too and thought we were ripping her off), and it’s made me doubt whether I ought to be stepping into this pond of internet selling at all. To add to it, I was trawling through Etsy and then started down that whole spiral of ‘why bother adding anything to the already crowded marketplace’, which then led to ‘why bother doing anything?’ (Meaningless! Meaningless! Everything is meaningless!) It’s hard to go out on a limb; to get knocked down before you’ve even started makes you feel like giving up – and I haven’t even gone through the torture of putting my own craft things up for sale!
I don’t think I’ll give up. I’ll just try something different. But maybe not for a while.