Sunday, January 10, 2010

I'm back so what did I learn

I ended my digital cleanse on Friday and I thought I would be up and online at 9:01. The truth is I was exhausted from the night before and didn't rush back.

I don't know what I was expecting. I got a good amount of welcomes and ribbings (and a nasty comment said in jest that I chose to ignore), but it was very non-eventful. It made me think about an article from one of my favorite bloggers/writers Gretchen Rubin (author of the new best seller "The Happiness Project"). Many months ago she wrote an article on Unconscious Overclaiming. "unconscious overclaiming; i.e., we unconsciously overestimate our contributions or skills relative to other people’s." I think this is especially true with our time online.  So I guess I expected my return to be memorable.

I've been asked a lot about what I thought my digital cleanse accomplished.  I didn't learn anything new... everything I experienced I had already known.. maybe I had just forgotten about it since I have been enamored with social media since the mid 90s.  That's a long time and, social media has been my "mistress" since day 1. I thought I would accomplish a lot more, and I thought I would do a lot more without the distraction of social media.  I did however, become re-introduced to a lot of things that led me to the computer in the first place. This is not unique to me - I'm sure everyone can relate...

1) A wife and mother is not supposed to expect remote control time. The family was not pleased to have someone else requesting tv time.
2) I do not have enough seating area in our den and my "presence" during group time made things even more tight.  My kids did survive sitting on the floor just like I did when I was little.
3) I think I have adult ADHD. I cannot complete a project from start to finish without numerous distractions. Without social media, I just found other things to use as an excuse.
4) I do not need to let people know what I am doing every minute of the day.  It is fun doing things and enjoying them by yourself.
5) As much as I enjoy my virtual friends, my family and IRL friends are pretty awesome and I need to make the same time for them as I do for everything else.

Friday, January 8, 2010

With hours to go - I WANT TO CHEAT! Day 7

Let me explain - if I had the evening I had tonight earlier in the week, digital cleanse or no digital cleanse, I would be tweeting/updating/linking/texting and anything else you can think of.

It started with a friend of mine saying how nice it would be to drive into the city together, she got her daughter tickets to see Nick Jonas (insert daughter's scream) and the Administration. I don't have a teenage daughter, but I am not dead so I know who that is. I immediately asked if she would be up for a play - Bye Bye Birdie and as she was saying sure I was researching tickets  - and much to my delight, found 2 tickets center row orchestra (5th row to be exact) to go see John Stamos (insert MY scream). I have been wanting to see this play since it opened.

Now  - I follow @JohnStamos and he always says "If you come see the play, let me know." I wanted to tweet and let everyone know I was going, but refrained. We went to dinner first, put her daughter & a very responsible young lady in a cab and went into the theater. I was dying to post a picture from our seats we were so close. I took a picture but refrained from doing anything with it since I only had to wait til morning.

Intermission came and I oh so wanted to let my friends know - but my hands were tied. Against the rules and for the first time this week I thought that this digital cleanse was absurd.  How stupid to just not post something so exciting.  But I didn't. The play was fantastic and I told my friend that I had every intention of meeting John. I told absolutely ANYONE who would listen that I was on Twitter and that I was supposed to let him know I was there.  Hey - whatever works. I got a security guard to show me where to go wait, I had another guard take my business card (which has every single way to get me on social media) to give to him. I got pushed to the back, but when I saw him come out of the door and tried to make my way to the beginning of the line, I was too late as he was already a few people down the line. This required something to get his attention. I started yelling "John - Twitter, I follow you on Twitter." He immediately stopped and came over to talk to me.  I handed him a card and said, "You must follow me so I can tweet you a picture."  "Are you funny?" he asked.  "Yes I am and I am a top tweeter from Long Island."  Oh this dratted cleanse I thought to myself. "Well, that is quite an accomplishment" he laughed. He signed my Playbill and said he would follow me (insert MAJOR internal scream).

I turn around and see if the friend got my picture with him and she says she got his picture, but not with me.  Damn - I run now to the end of the line and wait patiently for him to make his way back to me.  When he gets to me he says, "Hey Twitter" and I ask him if we can do a picture. As you can see - he did, and then as he disappeared said, "Talk to you on Twitter."  You can bet that my FIRST tweet will be to him as I end this cleanse... and for @JohnStamos, if this digital cleanse wasn't ending tomorrow at 9AM I would be on there tonight tweeting about this totally awesome night!!!

Day 6 - No spring in my step

I didn't wake up singing today.......... in fact, I had a hard time getting up.  Why? Because I didn't get to sleep that early last night. I didn't tweet, post, update, read or waste time online. I have no one to blame but myself. I worked a little too late. And I'm getting sick. I have a headache and my stomach hurts and my throat is scratchy. None of which has to do with social media.

The day kind of dragged, it was a 13 hour work day and I missed not having a distraction. I lived, but I missed it. I did get a call from the BFF asking how I was holding up and updating me on some of our friends. She is being protective and making sure nobody is talking smack (is it cool to say that anymore? If not, don't get me started - that's for a future post).

It's getting old.......... texts coming in that I can't answer, updates talked about that I don't know about - we live in a digital world and it's not fun being the dinosaur.

Day 5... no peeking allowed

Wake up, get out of bed, put a comb across my head............  LOVE that Beatles song and today I woke up singing it. NOT because of my cleanse - but because I am going to sleep early. This is surely something I can continue after January 8th. Sleep.... it's a beautiful thing.

As for the cleanse, it is starting to get a little old.  Not because I miss the social interaction (which, I most certainly do) but it is starting to interfere with business.  The inconvenience of having to look up a phone number when a text message comes in, when I can hit reply in 2 seconds is annoying. Not being able to answer an email that has come in from my phone because I shut down the work email just 2 minutes before a colleague emailed me looking for help is a little disconcerting. That was the closest I've come to cheating since that first day... a colleague emailed - "L if you get this email, write back, I have a question."  Now - I could have called, but I didn't have the phone number.  Email addresses have replaced phone numbers for a lot of people. I will answer it first thing this morning.

On the friend end.......... I got a call today from one of my best Twitter buds calling to see how I was doing. Of course my wonderful iPhone was being all temperamental and the call didn't come through so I got a VM, but it was good to know I've been missed but the last thing she said had me giggling, "We know you're peeking............"  LOL I'm not peeking :-(  I'm DYING to peek... but it is against the rules and I promised myself after the first day that I would and could do this and follow the rules. We know you're peeking....  for the first time this week - I am looking forward to Friday...... and fighting the urge to peek!

Day 4 - I didn't even blog

So I'm not sure I'm supposed to blogging because "publishing post" is most certainly posting and posting (as well as reading) is clearly against the rules. I decided to journal, and I will click send for the last 4 days on Friday. I'm writing this on Day 5 morning though, because I didn't even think about going to the computer last night. Now granted, it was my first day back to work and I worked late, and after being off for almost 2 weeks - I was tired. I looked forward to going to sleep early and waking up early and feeling awake (which I did and do).

Day 4 was easy again, but I miss my friends and I wonder if they miss me. Social media friendships aside though - I did notice how much social media is integrated into the business world. Yesterday throughout my "work" day, I received 3 text messages (all of which I answered with phone calls), and a Facebook page request - ALL of them business related. Seems this should be factored in next year (yes - I'm already thinking of doing this again).

I find it odd about all the people IRL who are mocking me. Is it because they don't think I'm strong enough? Is it because it makes them nervous that I might ask them to join me? Is it because they are just as addicted and don't want to think about it? Although - what I've noticed is that I'm really not addicted..........  no more addicted than I was to the phone, tv, radio - or any other distraction I've had through the years...I have no physical discomfort - bodily or emotionally without social media.

I do miss it though.........

Monday, January 4, 2010

Day 3........ the cleanse continues

I had truly expected to be in a tizzy today. 3 days into any kind of habit (or breaking of) tends to be the first real hurdle. I must say that today came and went without any cheating of the social media kind. If there was any day that made me wish I could tweet/post/update, it was today. I had a lot to talk about today. First off, I won my fantasy football league.  A Twitter league no less.  And I won, the whole enchilada, and I could not go to Twitter and tweet about it. I have no idea if anyone else mentioned it, or if anyone will be congratulating me tomorrow. I hope they don't think I'm an ungracious loser.. but they can always email me.

My kids also went to their first NFL game today. Last game of the season - Jets vs Bengals and they had field level seats. A few people I talked to on the phone told me they knew because they saw my kid's facebook updates. Ahhh yes, the reason I joined social media to begin with - the keep tabs on my kids. I felt a little pang of jealousy, but no desire to sneak a peak.

My bff called to see how the cleanse was doing - she knew I was going to be alone all night. I assured her that it was going fine. And it is.  She's been keeping tabs on the scene - lurking to see if there is anything she thinks I need to know. She informed me that my cousin was 2 days without heat (as noted on her FB page), but other than that - all seems to be relatively quiet.  I called said cousin and left a message for her. Another friend of mine text me to see if I went to the game or decided to stay warm. I called her back and told her I was snug as a bug in a rug.......  She didn't seem to mind that I replied with a call instead of a text. My son text me 4 pictures from the game and I called him back. Yes - I have been following the rules.

I expected to have just a productive day today - day 3 without social media. Yes - all the things it has been distracting me from. I have certainly made some progress in my projects but certainly not nearly as much as I thought.  And why? Because other things got me distracted. This digital cleanse has reminded me that my lack of organization at home comes from my lack of organization. And my easily distractive nature.

Tomorrow I go back to work after being home for almost 2 full weeks. My usual routine is wake up, grab a cup of coffee, tweet, update, email, tweet some more, shower, tweet head to work - you get the idea. I'm interested to see how the morning routine goes.........

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Digital Cleanse - Day 2

Waking up to day 2 was quite a change from my usual routine. Because I went to sleep early last night (I was actually IN bed before 11) I woke up feeling refreshed instead of groggy. I didn't jump to get my phone (since texting and reading email on anything other than your PC or laptop is against the rules) and instead got up, let the dogs out and waited for my coffee to finish. I checked my email, grabbed a cup of coffee, watched the snow fall and then.... went back to bed where I held a conversation with the hubby - something we haven't done on a Saturday morning in years (maybe decades). Although he was still half asleep, I talked anyway. This being in the moment - without distractions, is a nice feeling. I realize it is something I haven't been in a very long time.

Today I did the laundry, spent a lot of time with hubby, wanted to go to the movies but didn't because of the snow, and did some more organizing.  I got my nails done, ran to the mall real quick and never thought about my phone. I went to dinner at the bff's and did not bring my cell. I did not wonder what anyone was doing. I was attentive to what everyone said and they had my full attention. Not that this doesn't normally happen, but at the slightest break, there is always the urge to go look at the cell for a text or a tweet or some kind of  "update." I was so into the moment, that I never even looked at my watch. When I got in the car I had to ask hubby what time it was because I had no clue.  So far it has been easy - but I know the first day or two is. I'm sure the digital DTs will set in at any time now.

Friday, January 1, 2010

The digital cleanse

It is no secret to those who know me that I love to follow celebrities.  I have a whole list on Twitter of celebrities. I follow them for entertainment purposes only. I don't tend to "follow" what they say to do until this past New Year's Eve when I saw a post from John Mayer asking people to take the digital cleanse with him. I was intrigued so I went to his blog and read the rules. The guidelines were as follows:


*email only from laptop or desktop computers
*cell phones can only be used to make calls, and no text messages or e-mails are allowed - if you receive a text, you must reply in voice over the phone. E-mails must be returned from a laptop or desktop computer.
*no use of Twitter or any other social networking site - this includes reading as well as posting.

*no visiting of any entertainment or gossip sites.
It started today at 9AM and will commence on January 8th at 9AM. I have decided to blog during my detox...
Day 1
I got up at 8:50 which meant I only had 10 minutes to post my final tweet for the week. I got online, wished everyone a Happy New Year and told them about my digital cleanse.... I didn't stick around for the responses because it was already 9AM. I pretty much stay on my social media sites all day - so this was a new experience for me. I was tired and had some cleaning up from last night's festivities so I was pretty busy. It was easy. I realized that I was curious if there were any comments about my impending disappearance. I have to admit, I cheated and just checked my @replies on Twitter (clearly against the rules). For me, this was a good thing because instead of support, I saw a lot of nay saying. I wonder... would people say this stuff if I was doing a colon cleanse? A spiritual cleanse? I am extremely determined now to do this.