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Posted on 7 August 2012

I’m transcribing this blog post from my pocket-sized Moleskin notebook that I’ve been using to document the last few days. I’ve used these notebooks for a few years but never as much as this past week.

There’s a few reasons for this increased use, but high on the list was a desire to be unplugged. So to that end, the notebook replaced the Twitter and Facebook status boxes, as well as Foursquare check-ins and this blog. I just had a ten-days off (two weekends, a provincial holiday, and five vacation days) and I wanted a break not just from work, but from the  internet, as well. Namely, the flow of information that comes with it.

I am constantly plugged in to this flow. On my job, I’m looking at news sites and wire services and email to find and follow stories. Off the job, I’m on Facebook and Twitter and Google Reader for diversions and information and keeping track of what’s happening in the world. And I needed a break.

It’s easy to get into the routine of constant “click click refresh.” It’s quite literally addictive, setting off pleasure centres in the brain. Then there’s the feeling of needing to be in the know. I don’t know that my job of creating a daily current affairs show necessarily aggravates the situation, but it does give me a handy justification for checking news sites or social media more times than I probably need to.

But I’ve liked this experiences of going without. I haven’t checked Facebook or Twitter in days. I’ve checked my email a couple of times, but just to sweep and delete. I barely know what’s happened in the news for the past week aside from what I’ve overheard in conversation, seen on the front page of newspapers at the grocery store and a couple of radio broadcasts.

I don’t think being constantly unplugged from the flow of information permanently is a viable, desirable or responsible option. But I don’t think the routine I’d hit before this purge was ideal, either. Constant bite-sized chunks interfere with my day too much, not to mention my thought process and attention span. There’s a middle ground. I just need to find it.

Filed under: Best Of, personal

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Last summer, while completing my master’s thesis, I intentionally de-activated my Facebook account and took a leave from Twitter for about six weeks. I was amazed at how I didn’t even miss my usual social media obsessions, and it became so much easier to focus on the task at hand without those distractions. Of course I eventually returned to the plugged-in world after the six-week reprieve, but it was a valuable exercise nonetheless, and I’d definitely do it again in the future. It’s good to take a step back from our routines every once in awhile. Cheers!

Posted by J Oiseau on 7 August 2012 @ 9am

I find it interesting being back at a computer for work today. Going cold turkey was easy– but now that I have to be on a computer, it’s waaaaay tougher to not just click over to those other sites. Moderation will be more difficult than completely quitting, it seems.

Posted by Andrew on 7 August 2012 @ 10am

I agree; seems easier to unplug completely than to moderate… sigh, such is modern life!

Posted by J Oiseau on 8 August 2012 @ 12pm

No more than once a week, promise.

Finally used up the summer squashSome good used book finds todayIn case you can't read it, someone has written in the snow the words "No we don't"Meadow ski, finallyWelp.Hey look it's Amy Blanding kicking off a sold-out night of @ColdsnapFest 2018! #CityOfPGWell someone has to eat all the Christmas and New Year's leftovers