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.