No reason, no trigger, no event on January 1 I decided to take a digital retreat for one month. And save two pop-ins on Facebook to update a kitchen remodel (I know, i know… purist already believe the retreat ruined), I gave up Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and Instagram. The first few days were strange. I’d grab my phone, and just about to push the big fat white F, I’d instead hover over to NYT. And begin reading the news – real news written by really good journalists.
A few more days, and I still had the itch for doing “something’ on the smartphone. And so, my reading the news deepened. In the past I’d read the headline and first paragraph, but now I was reading whole articles. A few more days, and I found myself in better conversations with friends and colleagues at work, on hikes, in cafes. And a few more days, I did the unthinkable, I left my phone home while meeting friends for dinner. And THAT became the conversation.
“You left your phone at home?!”
“Ummm, yes I did.”
“What if something happens?”
“Im here with you. You’ll help me. I am sure of this.”
There are three takeaways from my retreat (which ends today):
- The impact on reading.
- The effect on live experiences.
- The delusion on knowing people from their digital lives.
For all three the main theme was focus – increased focus on the written material, increased focus on being in the present, and increased focus on all that is happening in someone’s life. And so, I am ready to dive back into my digital world, but with new focus and awareness of what is around me – real life with real people.