Monday, June 14, 2010
The Seven Day DeTox Tech Diet
I'm starting a diet today. Maybe it's more like a detox.
The idea started percolating on Friday as I was standing on the platform of the 1 train watching the man in the suit, beads of perspiration matting his hairline, the strap of his briefcase pulling his suit jacket off his shoulder, a Blackberry clutched in one hand and a flip phone held to his ear in the other. He was pacing from the edge of the platform, one eye checking to see if the train was coming, back to the little snippet of space near the subway entrance where on a good day you can get Internet access. The expression on his face might make you think he was about to find the cure for cancer and if the train did not come immediately or he didn't get enough bars to put through his phone conversation, the information needed to solidify his findings would be lost forever.
I found it appalling! I mean, what happened to just standing still and waiting with no distraction but your own imagination! I was even more appalled when moments later I caught myself taking out my iPhone, checking my email and trying to search the App store to see if there was one that tracked the location of the 1 train.
Later in the day I found myself in a packed elevator at ABC Carpet. The Black Eye Peas started singing from my purse. I checked to see who was calling me. It was not the cure for cancer or for that matter my agent telling me we had a book deal, but I did take the call, with no regard for the six other people I was sharing the elevator with. It wasn't until I stepped off and had finished my conversation that I realized what I had done. This is something I implore in others!
But the thing that really cemented my decision was when my WSJ arrived Saturday morning. They have a relatively new glossy magazine section. As I started to flip the pages, looking for what might appeal to me to read I realized it had been a long time since I had done this, leisurely browse through a magazine without being directed to a specific article because of some web based suggestion. Or a newspaper for that matter. My New York Mag sat unopened since Monday. A weeks worth of NY Times and Wall Street Journals collected in a heaping pile with only a few pages of the Business and Arts section glanced at. Not to mention this month's Food and Wine.
I am on technological overload and it is time to do something about it.
Yes, I believe in embracing new technologies. Yes, I think there is something to Twitter and Facebook. Yes, I think my most favorite handheld device ever is the iPhone. But what happened to just standing and doing nothing. What happened to finding news because my eye was drawn to something and not because I have it coming to me via some newsletter or web link or because someone else suggested via a Tweet I read it?
So I've decided to go on a detox technological news diet. For seven days. An experiment. It is not radical. I don't believe in radical diets. As in food diets if you say absolutely not one drop of chocolate for the next week, all you are going to crave is chocolate. So I am not about to tell you I will not turn on any technology for seven days and pretend I'm a Jew on Yom Kippur. But what I'm going to do is not receive my news via any technology, the Internet or Television.
I will read my newspapers and magazines. I will not read the countless newsletters delivered to my inbox nor will I read the blogs in my Google reader. I will not watch any television news. I've decided to lump The View into that category, since I consider that my best source of encapsulated news these days. I will not be browsing my social networks.
I will post a blog every day about what I see, what I get, and what I learn. I will Tweet and Facebook it's arrival. I will check my email 4x a day. In the morning, before lunch, at the end of the workday and perhaps one more time before sleep. I will not open my Huffington Post app or the one I have for NY1 News. I will answer my phone as long as there is no one else within ten feet of me and I will respond to personal text messages. After all, how does a woman date in the 21st Century if she doesn't answer a text?
It is time for a little detox here. I want to see what I learn, what I notice and how much time I free up for more productive pursuit. I want to see if my hands start to shake when 4PM rolls around today and I can't check my email until 5.
The experiment starts now! If you want to reach me quickly you'll have to call me. If you want to join me, share your discoveries with me. Post your comments here. I'll be checking. But only four times a day!