I’m so connected, much of my social group is so connected, we’re often never entirely present when together. I see the anxiety on friends faces build when the lights flash on their cells, when the rumble of a notification thunders through the air; the compulsion to react, to soothe the pulsing demand of the phone is just too compelling. I feel it as well, more often and strongly than I’d like.
So I’m going to try something tomorrow that kind of scares me. Something that years ago wouldn’t even have crossed my mind as a necessary option. I’m going to turn off my cell phone, power it down completely, disconnect it from the network. I’ll remove myself from social media for 24 hours.
I’ll be digitally alone.
No Skype and Facebook, but silent forums and IM clients, voice-mailed phone calls and ignored emails. A total electronic communications blackout, even on my computer.
I’m addicted to online social interaction, I truly enjoy it, but I suspect too much. My battery dies on me at least once a day due to the incessant notifications from someone replying to whatever inanity I’m spouting. It’s gotten so pervasive my arm is starting to hurt, my back muscles ache. I barely read my FB feed to see what’s going now because I don’t have time: I’ve had to ask my friends to move to other IM clients just to preserve battery life on my phone.
So tomorrow, I turn it all off. Every packet of information disappears. I will be read-only. No socializing outside of meatspace permitted. Just to see what happens. To see if I can do it for one day. For most people this will seem ridiculous, for me it’s starting to seem necessary.
I call it Silent Sunday, an exercise in forced self exclusion.
Unless you show up at my door I will be unreachable. I won’t even answer the phone, and it’s making me nervous. Even a text to someone in the room with me will go unreplied to. I already don’t like it, which is why I should do it. I’m not happy with this idea, and that fact scares me.