Is the Internet Making Your Head Explode?

Perhaps I'm just tired...too many emails to answer...too many photos to take, who knows? But I've been did we get to where we are now?

Here is a bit of my story. Wondering if you have any stories of your own to share?


1995 - Start selling vintage & antique items (I won't bore you with how I got there). There was (still is) a magazine called the Antique Trader Weekly. A classified advertising magazine of sorts. This was long before eBay really started getting rolling. You would post an ad in the 'Trader,' and on Monday mornings you'd get calls from people who wanted to purchase your items, sight unseen. Can you imagine? Yep, those were the good old days...Except for the 5:00 a.m phone calls.

1997 - Discover a small company called eBay. They have a little booth set up here at one of our local antique shows. I purchase my first digital camera for a whopping $700 (a clunky Sony Mavica), and off I am selling on eBay. Those were the days when there were more buyers than sellers, so it was really profitable. You could buy a Raggedy Ann doll at a yard sale for $1, and it would be snatched up on eBay for $40.

- Purchase this new book called "Shabby Chic" by some lady called Rachel Ashwell, and am totally blown away by "chippy" & weathered items. Start selling this look on eBay and it's totally insane. Ebay bidding wars are the daily norm. Things like tole chandeliers are selling in the thousands of dollars...rose oil paintings are a hot commodity, and sell in excess of $500. Beaded chandeliers? $1,500 and up!

At some point, I use the name "Paris Hotel" because I'm selling a lot of French and "hotel-related items."

2002- Home Companion contacts me to photograph my home for their magazine. I'm elated. A friend suggests I start a website to sell my wares. Find a web designer and "Paris Hotel Boutique" is born.

2007 - My web designer tells me about blogging. What the heck is that? I sign up. Do a little post here and there, but don't know what it really is.

Fast Forward - Here I am. 2010. Running my web shop and blogging regularly, but now we've added Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, etc. Which brings me to my point...

How do we juggle our lives? Number one is family, of course. Then for me it's managing my website which is my full-time job. Blogging, Facebook, Twitter are all secondary. In fact, I really don't like Twitter much at all. And what are all of these "share buttons"? Digg, Buzz Up!??

I love to blog and enjoy reading other people's blogs. But, how to we have the time to reciprocate with comments on so many great blogs out there? Is there time in your day to really read the posts and not just glance at the pretty pictures? What happened to just curling up with a good book? Are we all at our computers day and night getting lost in cyberspace?

I'd love to hear your thoughts about how the internet has affected your life. Has it opened up a whole new world, a new business perhaps? Made new friends and contacts? Is it taking time away from other things you'd like to do, or does it inspire you to do more?


Jonny said…
Hi Lynn, It seems like I needed to read your post today.To read about your success is wonderful but to read that Im not the only one overwelmed also.I began my blog about a year ago in hope to start selling my work on ebay thats not really working, so now Im going to start my own online store for my art which I work on a little at a time because it is time consumming. Blogging can be stressfull sometimes because visiting everyone is always in the back of my mind and what to post in 7 days all this takes away from painting and wanting to start filling my online store and there is that need to finds ways to promote always in the back of my mind. I love to visit other sitesI get so much inspiration reading other peoples joy and seeing there beautiful items I guess I need to either make a schedule or decide what should come first You are right sometimes my head does feel like it will explode trying to figure everything out- Thank you for sharing your post-Sincerely Jonny
vicki archer said…
Hello Lynn,

I would agree with you that the internet is a time guzzler but so are most rewarding jobs of interest. If I logged every hour that I spent creating my books I would never start another one! Blogging can be and is all consuming and there is not enough time to respond as I would like to the comments and emails. I hope that others understand that pressure and appreciate that it's not lack of interest but lack of time that means less commenting. It is impossible to post very frequently - especially original content - and comment on all your favourite blogs at the same time. For me it is one or the other and I alternate less posts, more commenting and vice-versa. I love to read old and new blogs and I like to leave comments - I miss my favourites if I don't know what they have been posting. I believe blogging should not be stressful or a chore so when I feel like that I take a breather even if the analytics tell me I have lost readership, bounce rate or new visitors!

Congratulations on your wonderful business...such an accomplishment creating a business from scratch. Enjoy the weekend, xv
Hi Lynn!
Great finding out more about you!About blogging... this subject came up when I met Amanda, Greet and Tracey and Haley and Melanie in Paris. First off people have to prioritize. I can't post everyday and can't comment everyday I run a shop, and have been doing design work for a new client on my days off for which I am grateful. I feel badly I haven't been able to keep up and add more new blogs but I am trying. The upside is I love as we all do the validation on positive comments on the blogs I post. I started it as a way to increase awareness for the shop but I had no idea how much time it would take. I for one will just blog for now and pass on the rest. Thanks for bringing this up!!Maryanne xo
This is a thoughtful question for a Saturday morning Lynn and one I have pondered a bit lately. I try and visit as many blogs as possible and just reserve some time each week to comment to readers who I haven't met. Without them I wouldn't have a blog so I try to keep that in mind. I love blogging and the wonderful, creative women it has brought in to my life. As long as I have readers who are interested in what I blog about I will be there, but I totally inderstand what you are saying about juggling it. I am at a point in my empty nest life where I have the spare time, juggling it before that point whould have been a challenge to say the least. I don't know how some do it all. For now, I will stick to my website business and blogging, all the other such as Facebook, Twitter I may leave for now. That could be the added part that would just take it from fun to too much. I like to concentrate on doing one (or two) things well and that is about all I can expect at 56 years old and that is the reality. You do a trememdous job on your blog Lynn so I do hope you keep that part, it truly is one of the best. Much love and thanks for bringing this subject up. There, I feel better now! XO
Noel Solomon said…
I love this post Lynn and I love seeing yout time line. You have grown so much in endless ways!
I just read Vicki's comment and have nothing more to say. Her outlook is unbelieveable and very true. :-))

And.. I could NEVER stop eating candy!!

xoxo Noel
Lisa & Alfie said…
Hey Lynn,
I know you and I have discussed this at length. It is overwhelming especially with a brick and mortar store as you can feel you aren't devoting quality time to any of them just to keep up. Entries start feeling obligatory and shallow.
I don't really get the Twitter thing and so I have made it lowest priority.
With networked blogs it seems like FB and the blog are connected but feels repetitive.
I honestly don't know how people get around to making fifty comments a day. I know this drives people to your blog but how much time out of the day is it taking, that I don't have?
I have taken a major breather from it all and am just now beginning to get my rhythm back. It seems we keep adding without editing something out. And isn't that the exact opposite of what I tell my clients to do.....Just have to remember some things work better in our lives than others. So I drop out or make low priority those that don't until I feel the quality of the more important ones is something I can be happy with.
I am sure this topic will come up again and again.
Lisa & Alfie
Dear Lynn,
I really loved reading about your rise to fame ! It was brilliant.
I started my blog because I was reading someone elses and saw 'Create Blog' at the top of the page !.... and, I'm so pleased that I did. I have met the most wonderful people from all over the world. It certainly does take up a great deal of my time but, our children are married or have their own place now so, I do have a bit more time ( although the housework takes a back seat !!). I don't post as much as other people, once or twice a week, which takes the pressure off, but I do like to try and comment on as many people as are on my blog list or have left me a comment.I am not on facebook or twitter or anything else.I definitely wouldn't have time for all of that. It's best to do one thing well, rather than lots of things not so well.
Brilliant post causing much discussion, Lynn.
Have a lovely weekend. XXXX
Cashon&Co said…
wow. GREAT thing to think about! I loved finding out about your history w/ PHB and how you got started. So interesting! I think that it's good and bad. I was thinking about that the other day...w/ all the children being exploited on-line, would we have been better off w/ out the WWW at all? But then maybe there have been more people helped than hurt so it's a good thing? I know that my husband did mention one time that i spend too much time on my laptop, so I moved it into my office and won't let it enter the house again. It became to convenient to lay in bed and shop. :) I've taken a permanent vacation from Facebook b/c I can't keep up w/ just my emails as it is. And I did twitter for one day and deleted it too. But then again, I do want that IPAD!!! :)
Thanks for these great comments everyone. It's so interesting hearing everyone's unique different, but with a common thread.

I like what Lisa at Pickled Hutch says, "It seems we keep adding without editing something out." I think that's what I'm feeling. Keep adding to the plate and something else gets pushed aside or your head starts to explode!!!
FrenchBlue said…
Hi Lynn,

You aready know what I am going to say because you know me so well... I so believe in B A L A N C E. My life is like a tightrope walk. I must balance or I will fall.

I believe in being choosy how, where and who I spend my time with. Time is very precious to me. This is why I love blogging. As Vicki said, blogging is where I go to rest. I read and comment only on blogs that interest me. I post only what is in my mind that day that I want to share. Blogging has connected me with a few very special people. Just like Ebay connected us how many years ago? When I bid on that beaded sconce I had no idea I was winning my Best Friend! I embrace the internet but only in moderation. My website is a gift that allows me to market my finds and sell them across the world:) It truly amazes me who some of my buyers are.

I honestly don't have time for facebook or twitter.

If something comes into my home at this point in my life, something must go out...just as Lisa & Alfie said.

This is a very poignant post about the reality of our world today. Technology is a great thing, but sometimes, I believe we become too consumed with it and forget the greatness of reading a book, sitting at a cafe with friends just talking and going out for long walks sans any music, phones or other techno gadget. It is important to ground ourselves in what makes our souls feel a certain peace and harmony. Like you, the internet is my business, it is how I make a living. This being said, I do spend a lot of time online, but lately, I have had to refocus and realize that my body was lacking the nourishment from yoga and just being in touch with nature that it so strongly needs. I limit my time to work in the evenings and only Sunday - Thursday nights and when the crumb naps. My husband and I both turn off the laptops Friday at 4 and then back on again Sunday night (again with the exception of a few minutes here or there during the day to check for orders, etc.).
I recently succumbed to TWitter, and I really do not see the point in it. I refuse to get pushed into the 'rat race' of constantly sending messages, etc. It is a time-sucker. Blogging has brought me so much pleasure and introduced me to ladies I would have never met without it ~ friendships that will last a lifetime. For this, I am beyond blessed. Whenever I feel overwhelmed, I just step back and take a breather before jumping back in. Vicki summed it up perfectly!
And I am beyond impressed and proud of you for all the accomplishments you have done throughout this short period of time. A true testament to following your dreams and making them a reality!
Unknown said…
Hi Lynn,
What a perfect post that reflects exaclty what my life is right now. It is so hard to balance everything. I find myself commenting less and posting less but always reading my favorites.

I have "met" so many creative, amazing, and inspirational women blogging. I would love to spend more time in the blogosphere but with a toddler, work, the Etsy shop, etc. I have been burning the candle at both ends and when I have to stop and edit my priorities sometimes blogging ends up being my edit (as much as I love it)!

I loved reading about how you came to create PHB and love the journey. You have always been such an inspiration and you, Claudia, and Janet really help me keep my dream alive. You are such a special and beautiful group of talented women. Thank you for all of your blogging time and your blog friendship! I appreciate every online minute you share with us!!!
La Dolfina said…
Thank you so much for posting about this topic! I loved reading everyone's comments as I agree with them all and have been feeling and dealing with the same things. Being new to all of this, it helps to know that I'm not alone and that there are bloggers who are honest and open and willing to share the realities of this new medium. One of my closest blogging friends is Kathysue at The Good Life of Design who has been incredibly supportive and is always gently reminding me of the virtues of balance!
Lynn~ I would love to continue this convo on a physical walk with you either in my neighborhood or around the Lafayette Reservoir!! This is an invitation! I'll make you lunch afterwards or we can do Bakesale Betty's :)
ceecee said…
It's exhausting to me too, Lynn. Way too many 'things' Twitter, Facebook etc. But I wouldn't trade the experience of blogging. The people I've met, friends I've made, has been wonderful. I'm very pared down but still find it to be demanding. They call it progress - pretty funny.

Take it easy,Lynn,
thanks for following my blog! i love yours. i just came across it and i'm so happy i have! with regard to your post, i just started blogging and already i'm so overwhelmed...both good and bad. i thought maybe it was because i was playing 'catch-up' on the whole blogging world, but i too am like 'what's with all these share buttons... its like a new one every time i turn around. but overall i'm just loving the blogging world (obviously or i wouldn't be doing it). there's so much to share and so much to read and see... and i wouldn't have found your great site without it :)
Curious Sofa said…
OMG! Girlfriend, you have seeped into my head and stolen my thoughts. Replace your online cart with my retail storefront and I am exactly like you. I don't know how I got here or how to get off but I am rethinking all I do lately. The shop, the blog, the Facebook- all to get one measly customer in my store to buy something. How did this happen? I am made to think if I don't do it I am archaic and no one will know me and my business will fail. My soul tells me to close it all down and move to the country and sell painted chairs on the curb. HELP!
lisa golightly said…
This question you pose has been rolling around my head for quite some time. It is quite the double edge sword isn't it ? After all, I wouldn't even know you and several other amazing people if it weren't for the internet ! BUT balance like Janet said is the key ... and I may I add, self awareness & discipline to maintain that balance. My little ADD brain can get really wrapped up in other people's interesting worlds ... it's like a great big Amy Atlas dessert table sitting in my home 24/7 ... and we all know what too much of any good thing can do ! I have to remind myself that I am not striving to be a career blogger. I am a mother 1st, an artist 2nd and blogging and other forms of self promotion fall further down the line. Know thyself then set priorities accordingly. I have to actually write down a loose schedule so I can keep myself on track and not fall down the rabbit hole ...( of course this is always easier said than done ! ) Great great question worth considering by us all ... Thank you !
Trishia said…
Lynn, I just have to chime in and echo what everyone else said:) I posted about this same issue a few weeks back. I think it's important to realize when we are being manipulated by media influence. "They" lead us to believe that "all" these things are necessary or our business will be a failure. "They" don't seem to figure old-fashioned passion into their business formula. And that passion will keep seeking until it finds the proper outlet, the perfect venue. For me, it is blogging! But I don't give a twat about Twitter. And too many farms & fish tanks on Facebook for me!ha!
Jill said…
This is such an important issue. I love to blog...etc. you know. I can't separate out the issue of "how to spend my time" away from my faith. I'm finally getting it somewhat right by praying before I check into the net in the morning and then praying for guidance. I think so much of it is red know you read you have to do this..blah blah or network here...blah blah but your faith and family have to come first and let the rest fall where it may. I really don't know that this got my point across and I've maybe taken up too much of your time! Irony, huh?! (I really like that gray nail polish too!!)

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