Unplugging from the Internet for Three Months (sort of)


May 3, 2013 marks the first day of three months without Facebook, Twitter, Pintrist, Reddit or Goodreads. I’m quitting the popular social media sites for a while.

Grumpy Cat- no FBLast weekend, I started noticing – really noticing – how much time I spend on the internet. I’m talking about the time after work, when I’m in the home office, working on my novel (yea, right).

Most evenings, between 8-10, I’m at my computer. I sit down with noble intentions to be productive. I’ll do some work from the office so my next day will go a little smoother. I’ll write or edit. Maybe I’ll blog, which I consider different from writing. I don’t know why.

What really happens is – I check my email. I catch up with what’s on Facebook. I check Twitter. Maybe I hit Pintrist and see what pictures friends posted, or I’ll go check what updates have been made on Goodreads or Reddit. Mind you, each one of these sites has links that send me all over the place, and if a link sends me to Writers Digest, The Verge or Engadget, don’t wait up. I may not be coming to bed.

Eventually, I get around to getting some work done, but even in the middle of writing or working at home, I continue to check for updates.

I estimate that I lose 40%-60% a night to this sort of thing. Rather than being productive, I’m randomized by cute cat videos, tech news and reading articles about writing, rather than – you know – writing.

Then, I saw this article by Paul Miller, a tech writer for The Verge, who quit the internet for a full year:  I’m still here: back online after a year without the internet

Paul Miller’s experience inspired me. I can’t quit the internet without quitting my job, which also means I quit having a house to live in and quit having food to eat. But what I can do is quit the main sites on the internet that randomize me. Correction: That I allow to randomize me.

So, for the next three months – from May 3rd to August3rd – I’m off of Facebook, Twitter, Pintrist, Goodreads and Reddit.  It’s a 90-day social media fast.

I know, it’s not as significant as quitting the internet for a year, but then I’m not trying to make a big statement about isolation of modern society invoked by technology, evils of social media or the fragility of my sanity. All of those things are certainly suspect – but I’m doing this to see if removing obvious distractions helps me focus and be more productive.

Will it really help me be productive? Will I find other distractions to fill the time  – maybe basket weaving or racing earthworms? Will I have a nervous breakdown without the outlet of social media sites?

I have no idea how this will go, but I’ll be blogging about it right here.

6 thoughts on “Unplugging from the Internet for Three Months (sort of)

  1. I just realized my blog is set to post to Twitter and FB every time a new post is made. While I don’t consider this automatic feature a deviation from the commitment, I think it would look confusing for someone to read “I’m quitting FB for 90 days” and then see all these updates, posted as me.

    I removed the automatic posting feature.

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