Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Digital Fast - It Begins

Have you ever wondered how your smartphone and Internet consumption are affecting your life and personality? Who would you be in a world without them? Do you spend so much time with them that they warp you? I keep thinking that they must. They are designed to stimulate and arouse. That much input, usually negative, must have an effect.

Thus the Digital Fast. For one week, I'm going to avoid as much content as possible from my phone and computer just to see if it changes me.

The Rules: My smartphone can only be used to communicate. That includes telephone calls and text messages. It can also be used to obtain necessary information such as store hours and locations and to guide me, when necessary, with the navigation app. No more Twitter, games, YouTube or the rest.

My computer will be used to blog daily updates on the fast and, like the phone, obtain important information for daily life such as repair manuals, weather, vacation reservations and so forth. No more Wall Street Journal, Instapundit or any of the other spasm-inducing sites.

My podcasts and music-on-demand services will be shelved for the week as well. Spotify, Pandora, the Andrew Klavan Show - it all falls into the category of stimulation, so out it goes.

Just for fun, we're going to throw in caffeine and alcohol. I usually have a coffee first thing in the morning, another around 9 and a Diet Coke in the afternoon. I'm going to cut out the 9 AM coffee. As for alcohol, that's gone entirely. For the first time in my life, I need to lose weight and all that beer isn't doing me any good at all. It's going to be a dry Digital Fast.

The Exception: English Premier League. Come Saturday and Sunday, I'm going to watch a couple of games. The experiment is important, but I'm not missing Newcastle United for it. Howay the lads! Besides, I figure that the EPL isn't in the same class as my political and economic surfing. It's exciting, but it's not designed to make me angry.

The Photography Quandary: Should this include photography? If I take photos or videos, can I use the computer to finally learn how to use selections, masks and layers in Photoshop? How about making time-lapse videos? I don't see that these fall into the same category as the agitation sites and apps, so I'm going to go with it. If you think that's cheating, feel free to let me know.

Work: My job is all done on the computer and involves social networking. Fortunately, it's all work-based, so I think I will be able to do my job while living within the spirit of the Fast.

So there you have it. A week without digital stimulants. Onward and upward! Excelsior!

Good God, I miss it already.


tom said...

Last week I was in a rural area with satellite internet. Tweetdeck is a terrible way to catch up on a day of missed tweets, so I just gave up on Twitter for the week. I think I liked it. I did keep up with Instapundit and some of my RSS feeds, and I'm playing catch-up with podcasts (largely technical/hobby focused).

I'm not sure I'm going to follow you on this venture (as I drink a beer "made with ingredients found in breweries"), but I think you're on to something healthy.

Foxfier said...

I do not think the pictures count.

I've done digital fasts-- now I'm at the stage where if I don't have anything to say to something I read daily, I won't, and won't read the comments; if it's a busy day, I may not do anything online at all.

Hope it works out for you.

K T Cat said...

tom and Foxie - you are stronger than I am. Unless I cut the cord purposefully from my end, I check my feeds all throughout the day. A slow connection just means more Pavlovian anticipation. What fun! Or, maybe, What? Fun?


Foxfier said...

I have five trainers and my husband has been working on getting me to just say "they're stupid, ignore them"... the biggest problem is if one is sick or sleeping, and I can't leave the chair.

It's easier, if not easy. And the "reward" of even distant human interaction can be missed.