Digital Declutter

Effective immediately, I am beginning thirty-day break from social media. I just finished reading Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism and I liked a lot of what I read. The only way to know for sure if it will work for me is to give it a try, and so that is what I am going to do.

Why? There’s no reason other than the fact that I feel I want to scale back. Eleven years on Facebook is a lot, and I’m tired of it. The time I spend on social media can likely be put to better use. I also want to see if a month entirely off social media will give me a generally better sense of well-being.

A few things that I took away from Newport’s book that are important to note:

  1. The thirty day break is a break from optional technologies in my life. Right now, I see those things as: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. It does not mean giving up digital technology as a whole.
  2. Along those lines, I still plan to writing blog posts during this social media break. My blog is setup to automatically announce new posts on Facebook and Twitter. Those announcements will continue, although I will not be monitoring Facebook or Twitter for responses. I will be keeping up with the blog, and will respond to comments posted here.
  3. I am also trying to get into better habits with email. To that end, I’ll be checking personal email first thing each morning, and again in the evening, but not in-between. Keep this in mind if you email me and don’t get an immediate reply.
  4. When the 30-day break is over, I will start to look at Facebook and Twitter again, but only from my computer, and only once or twice a week. I’ll see how I feel about them at the end of this break and decide if I will be actively using them at that point.

This is something I have been thinking about doing for some time, and is part of the reason I decided to read Cal Newport’s book. I was impressed by his arguments, but need to see for myself if I get the benefit he suggests comes from digital minimalism.

This is something I want to do because I think it will be good for me. I may or may not write about the experience, although I’m leaning against writing about for one simple reason: it has been written about by many, many people already and I’m not sure I’d have much to add.

I am happy to answer questions about this experiment, however, so if you have any, drop them in the comments.

Published by Jamie Todd Rubin

Jamie Todd Rubin writes fiction and nonfiction for a variety of publications including Analog, Clarkesworld, The Daily Beast, 99U, Daily Science Fiction, Lightspeed, InterGalactic Medicine Show, and several anthologies. He was featured in Lifehacker’s How I Work series. He has been blogging since 2005. By day, he manages software projects and occasionally writes code. He lives in Falls Church, Virginia with his wife and three children. Find him on Twitter at @jamietr.

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