According to Daniel Sieberg’s book THE DIGITAL DIET, the goal is to
“Slim down the use of everything from gadgets to social networks to video games in the hope of making yourself healthier, happier, and whole in the twenty-first century.”
The aim is moderation, not elimination, but it begins with a two-day detox, to put things into perspective. But here’s the problem: I didn’t switch off.
I thought it would be easy – if I timed the first two days of my digital diet with the weekend, then I wouldn’t be using my smartphone for checking train times, checking Facebook or Twitter on the train or at lunch, I probably wouldn’t even switch on a computer. But instead, this is how my weekend went:
Got up, got the train into London. On train, sent some texts to the friend I was meeting, checked Facebook, checked Twitter, checked Facebook again, signed in to check my blog stats, read for the rest of the journey. Met up with friend for a day of retail therapy and catching up. Mostly switched-off day until late afternoon when we stopped for tea and cake (shopping is hard work!). Quickly checked Facebook and emails while she checked her phone for messages. Then dinner with friend: she went up to order, so I stayed at table checking social networks, and then on to checking the Six Nations scores and the football scores. On the train home, sent more texts, checked Facebook and Twitter, checked the sports results. Got home and finished reading my book on the sofa.
First thing, I checked my emails, Facebook and Twitter. Still in bed. Later in the day I was visiting my parents who had been away for about three weeks. Great – a chance to catch up. Except while I was there I still sent a few texts, checked my emails, checked my Facebook, looked up the football results for my dad… So it’s hard to say how much catching up was actually done! On the plus side, there were no mobile phones at the table when we were eating dinner, which is a rare thing these days. So that was one good thing.
A quick skim through those paragraphs above will show that I definitely didn’t switch off. Not in the slightest. Of course, some of the texts that I sent were necessary – letting my friend know where and when I would meet her, for example. But other than that, it was just habit. I have a digital habit, it seems, and it’s one that I really want to break.
So today I am re-booting my digital diet. For the next two days there will be no checking my personal Facebook account, I will ignore my personal Twitter account, and I will ignore my emails. I am switching off… right now.
See you on the other side.