17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A Day-in-the-Life of an Internet User

Yesterday, we got a new phonebook delivered to our front door. As I was going through the mail and paper, I put it, along with all the other junk, in my pile of recycling. I have, for quite a while, routinely thrown out my phonebooks. Who needs one taking up space and collecting dust when the internet contains all the information I need from a phonebook, plus easy access to maps and directions to boot?

I was reflecting on the way the internet has changed what I do each day. All our bills and financial records are accessed online. Our phone goes through an internet connection. I can work from my home office with access to data sets and library research tools. And I can renew my kids' library books with a few clicks of the mouse.

But, most of all, there are so many fun things to read and do online. I can spend a great deal of time at the computer each day (evidenced by my sore wrist), and often do. I have loved reading the FMH Day in the Life Series where readers chronicle a typical day. But, I wish the contributors would be more detailed in how they spend their online time. A snapshot of online usage, I think, provides an interesting view on what people are like, what they are interested in, and best of all gives me ideas about other sites that I can squander my time looking at. I'll go first:

Usually one of the first things I do after I stumble out of bed is to head to the office to check my email. This consists mostly of deleting a lot of spam--maybe it's time to have all my mail forwarded to my gmail account. It catches almost 100% of spam.

Then, I check into MyFamily. Both me and DH's extended families (parents and siblings) have a MyFamily site dating back 7 years. It has been such a great way to keep in touch with multiple family members spread across the world by being able to easily post news and pictures for everyone to see in a way that would simply not be possible otherwise.

During the mornings, I often spend a few minutes here and there checking into my favorite blogs using my new favorite internet tool, BlogLines. By setting up an account, I have been able to develop a personalized page that lists all the new posts on blogs, news sites, and anything else that I want to read on a regular basis. Anything that generates an RSS feed can easily be added with the click of a button. Right now, I am subscribing to 21 different feeds, and so this allows me to easily check what's going on with these websites without spending the time clicking around the internet to each one. My feeds include:

  • A few sources of space and astronomy news that I wouldn't read at all if they weren't compiled for me by BlogLines
  • Several bloggernacle blogs, including some big ones--Times and Seasons and By Common Consent-- and others that are focused on the intersection of Mormonism and women: Feminist Mormon Housewives, Exponent, Zelophehad's Daughters, and Mormon Mommy Wars. Additionally, there are a few individually authored blogs that I read, mostly associated with bloggernacle personalities, but I recently added a new friend's blog to my feeds.
  • Book reviews from the New York Times and NPR, as well as Julie Smith's book blog. I have added several books to my must-read list from these reviews. (If anyone has any other good sources for book reviews, please spill it!)
  • Current education news
  • And also upcoming local events

My two favorite sources of news are the New York Times and the Washington Post, which I check into a few times a day. My favorite semi-regular indulgence is to spend 20 minutes doing the Washington Post online crossword after MJ has gone to kindergarten and T is down for his nap while sipping a diet coke.

I use MyCheckFree to pay all my bills electronically, and download info from my bank and credit card company. I also regularly use the yellow pages, google maps, and get all my ward phone numbers from the ward website. And I get all my church lesson materials online too. I often log into the local library website to see what we have checked out and to request books that I can pick up a few days later from the branch close to my house. Whatever did I do before the internet?

So, tell me, how you do spend your time online?


  • ...Feeling connected to other people I think are great. Writing, to save my sanity and shards of my mind left after my kids are done with me...

    My day isn't so different from yours, actually. Cruise the favs, check e-mail, maybe do my Targeting online now becuase taking three monkeys there is so terribley painful, then write a post if something is bouncing around needing to get out.
    posted by Blogger tracy m at 11/08/2006 02:33:00 PM  

  • I also use the internet for practically everything. It's a little crazy and facinating.

    Here's a little snapshot of my daily online usage:

    BLoglines - I love it too! here are my favorites besides the Bloggernacle ones that were mentioned already:

    In the way of mommy blogs I love Daring Young Mom. She is witty and entertaining.

    Then I have my group of "Craft" blogs that get my creative juices flowing:

    Wee Wonderfuls

    Wardrobe Refashion
    Whip Up
    Design Mom

    To waste more time, I like to browse through photos on Flickr. There is such great crafting stuff on there as well as beautiful photography.

    I am always looking up new recipes on AllRecipes.com

    We have been checking out a lot more mountain biking sites and I like peruse new geocaches.

    Lately I have been spending time working on new Amazon wish lists for Christmas. THey have a new setup so you can save gift wish lists (things you want to get people).

    I need to spend more time reading the news. Haven't been good at that since 9/11. Coping mechanism I guess. Thanks for your links.

    I need to go throw out my phone books now.

    Myfamily - love it, have 4 different sites
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 11/08/2006 03:14:00 PM  

  • First I check email (on yahoo), then log into some of my stores to see how merchandise from my line is selling. Return work related emails, then friend/family emails. Then to cnn.com, then to our Tales crew myfamily.com site. Later I bounce over to tmz.com for my daily helping of celebrity smut, then to babychic101.com for new baby trends that will benefit my line. Finally check the blogs, make some comments, maybe work on a post. And after that, I check pacunion.com for real estate - have to keep up on inventory and prices for the town we're moving to next summer. The day isn't complete without a stop at ny1.com for my NYC news recaps and some cross referencing of real estate listings with other San Francisco sites.

    And then I repeat this whole cycle multiple times during the day depending on time/need.

    I really should do some crossword puzzles like Michelle - sharpen my dull mind a bit!
    posted by Blogger chloe at 11/08/2006 03:17:00 PM  

  • I am really interested in bloglines and had never heard of it before. I'm excited to do less clicking and more reading!

    My daily interneting isn't much different from the others mentioned:

    I check my email account and then our blog, times and seasons, exponent, mommywars, fmh and daring young mom. I am usually on craigslist for something once a day. Oh, and I always check the weather on weatherunderground.com. I got into the habit of doing that in our first NY apt when we had small windows that looked out at the building next to us and I could never tell what the weather was doing outside. Now it is habit. I'll check the internet for the temp before I'll go outside. Kind of sad, huh?

    I still read newspapers and rarely look at a newsite. They put the bread on the table around here so they are considered sacred.
    posted by Blogger Jen at 11/08/2006 06:30:00 PM  

  • I used to have the computer on all day, and I couldn't walk past it without clicking on "refresh" or checking this or that "real quick". I would check my email and favorite blogs and post on parenting boards or just surf - constantly. I literally spent hours online every day, to a level where I considered myself addicted.

    And my children suffered. I would push their needs aside to just finish looking at this one thing, or writing this post or this email.

    I had to quit, like I'd been saying for years, I had to quit. I finally did just after my last baby was born. Cold turkey. I made a change, a rule for myself - no internet until the kids are in bed! Since bedtime is early with small kids, I have plenty of time to stop by my favorite blogs (this one and like 3 others), check my email and whatever other random things I need to do. If I think of something during the day that I want to look up later, then I make a note to myself. Very efficient surfing! Now I'm online for maybe 30 minutes in the evening, and the rest is for my husband and me.

    My decision has changed everything. EVERYTHING. I am a better mom - a MUCH MUCH more focused, happy mom. I used to yell half of my words at the kids, because my attention wasn't on them. Now the tone and the spirit of my home is so much improved. It's been such a blessing to find my way out of my addiction to distraction.

    So for now, I'll keep my phone book! :)
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 11/08/2006 08:05:00 PM  

  • It's kinda scary how much I love the internet. I think even my husband wonders how I've turned so "white n nerdy" !!
    copy and paste to see clip! TOTALLY WORTH IT! http://youtube.com/watch?v=19pOuhCihIg

    ...Like he, Dr. toothy,can talk!

    But honestly, one of my latest stops is a virtual stock site where I am working on some trading skills! FUN FUN! (Which would also include a visit to MSN Money to moniter my faves, like Bebe and Guess, who BTW are doing pretty well.

    Also, I am an obsessed person with a few certain websites:

    1. www.freedomcrystal.com (we're talking swarovski crystal chandeleirs at rock bottom prices ladies! And no, I don't work for them... I would if I could get a discount though!)

    2. The Wallpaper Lady on Ebay- sweet designer wallpaper also at amazing deals, and actually anything on EBAY!!!!!Currently looking for a great pair of fur trimmed Uggs

    3. overstock.com

    4. The home decorator's outlet

    5. Also like the clearance isle at deseretbook.com for deals on nice lds kids books, music, etc..


    Okay, I do like to shop.. but I get deals!

    I also love blogging since I have been exposed to it, which really is only as long as anyone on this blog has seen me post. I was reccommended by my sis-n-law in Utah to check it out! I have started somewhat journaling again through my own blog and also got my spread-out-all-over husbands family to start one so we can keep better tabs on everyone. It's just great!!
    posted by Blogger Rachel H at 11/08/2006 08:19:00 PM  

  • I should also mention I enjoy feecycle, buy sell or trade and craig's list!
    posted by Blogger Rachel H at 11/08/2006 08:34:00 PM  

  • Sorry- TY-po! FREE-cycle!
    posted by Blogger Rachel H at 11/08/2006 08:35:00 PM  

  • My guilty pleasure is the GoFugYourself blog. I know its kinda of a lame site, but I can't stop laughing at what they write.

    Here's something I've always wondered: can Blogger administrators see the IP addresses and city/state of their visitors? I've been wanting to track the traffic to my blog.
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 11/09/2006 06:31:00 AM  

  • Sorry to post so much on this! I was also thinking about how many travel/resort deals there are!
    ~Sky Auction
    ~Travel Zoo
    ~Cheap tickets
    (Just to mention a few!)

    I also have used www.consumerreports.org for great advice on virtually anything!
    posted by Blogger Rachel H at 11/09/2006 07:54:00 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
    posted by Blogger trimama at 11/09/2006 08:07:00 AM  

  • I love bloglines as well and have NPR and Slate.com on it for news. I also love our family website.

    I check out anthropologie for me and old navy for the boys to see if there are sales about once a week.

    Another favorite of mine is zappos for shoes and purses (they have amazing customer service and things usually arrive the next day.)

    I love to check out
    literary mama to read the events of other fellow mamas.

    I also am a gadget girl, so I check out
    this site for deals.

    Another site that I used daily during our househunt was Zillow.
    posted by Blogger trimama at 11/09/2006 12:40:00 PM  

  • recently i have been checking:

    - Gmail
    - Netflix
    - MySpace
    - MyFamily - 1 for my family & another for dh's (still trying to get husband's family to actually use the one i set up for them. any ideas?
    - Blogs - check my own for comments, read a few friends/family blogs & tales
    - Local Paper - mostly read about local crime, obituaries, get fuzzy & dear annie
    posted by Blogger brenbot at 11/09/2006 12:59:00 PM  

  • Curses to you, Tri Mama - now I'm hooked on this new fangled site you have told us about, Zappos. Good grief...

    My Tales girls will tell you that I have a MAJOR obsession with handbags - Zappos is NOT going to help that.

    Thank you so much for introducing me to this new terrible treat.

    And a shout out to Zillow.com as well - we're on there weekly during our current house hunt and it's uber helpful.
    posted by Blogger chloe at 11/09/2006 05:15:00 PM  

  • Curses to you, Tri Mama - now I'm hooked on this new fangled site you have told us about, Zappos. Good grief...

    My Tales girls will tell you that I have a MAJOR obsession with handbags - Zappos is NOT going to help that.

    Thank you so much for introducing me to this new terrible treat.

    And a shout out to Zillow.com as well - we're on there weekly during our current house hunt and it's uber helpful.
    posted by Blogger chloe at 11/09/2006 05:15:00 PM  

  • TFT Carrie, Thanks for the love. Another site I check daily is Oh Happy Day.

    Written by an LDS woman and event planner in San Francisco — but not LDS themed. She posts 5 or 6 times a day and everything is fabulous.
    posted by Blogger Design Mom at 11/15/2006 11:07:00 AM  

  • Oops. I typed it incorrectly. Second try: Oh Happy Day
    posted by Blogger Design Mom at 11/15/2006 12:05:00 PM  

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