It was Friday night when I saw the tweet: Join the Digital Free Day tomorrow. I decided to take up the challenge. How hard could this be? No, seriously. I wanted an answer. How hard would it be to have no internet access for a whole day? Here's my answer:
|Product of my Digital Free Day|
What to read with my coffee instead of email and tweets? Nothing. I take the coffee outside and listen to the (real) birds.
Planning my day: Can’t work on the church newsletter that I edit. All the pieces are online. I could do some writing for my blog I’ve been meaning to do, except the quotes that are integral to the article are online.
Did Indiana U win the game last night? Don’t know. Can’t find out.
8am - Hungry for breakfast now and the phantom thought in the back of my mind is “I can’t eat. I’m on a diet.” Strange. I CAN eat. I’m not on a nutritional diet, only a digital one but the feeling of being denied something lingers.
There’s some personal research I’ve been meaning to do on a health issue… have to wait.
9am- I start a written list of things I am going to send or tell people when my Digital Free day is up.
Taking the compost out I notice my spring flowers blooming and think about getting my Ipad and taking a picture to share with family. Nope. Can’t. I could use my digital camera (can I use a digital camera on a digital free day?) but that would involve finding a cable and downloading the picture (tomorrow).
Are the Sox on TV today? Don’t know and I don’t have a printed schedule yet.
I need to pay some bills. Woops. Can’t. Well, I could write a check and find a stamp, but I think I’ll just wait till tomorrow and do it in 30 seconds.
I need to check my work schedule online and update the family wall calendar. The paper – digital chasm yawns.
We are thinking about buying a new kayak rack for the car. OMG! Shopping. I never do store to store shopping. I find exactly what I want online and either order it online or find a local store that carries it.
3pm -Time for a break. How about a round of scrabble with friends and family? Not available. Luckily my current book is paper so I can read.
I need to plan a trip to Indianapolis in July but avoid the weekend of a big race there. Where would I find what that date is without the internet? And I can’t make flight reservations without the internet anyway.
So what can I do?
- Projects using my own hands (I actually follow through on an idea I had to make an earring holder from a cookie rack-pictured above)
- Yard work, gardening
- Walks, hikes, outdoor activities
This list makes me think that a smart phone is NOT a way for me to go.
8pm – My husband downloads a new app for his Ipad and wants some advice. I tell him I can help him tomorrow and realize that troubleshooting computers is one of the ways we connect.
So what did I learn from this short experiment?
- Many of the quick reference things that I use the internet for I could get other ways, if I stocked reference materials in the house the way I used to—schedules, magazines with recipes, newspapers with weather etc. But those ways often involve more “work”, more looking, more finding and more calling.
- I definitely feel less connected with my extended family when I can’t send them an email at the drop of a hat.
- My real world is so integrated with the digital that it’s hard to know where one stops and the other begins. I hardly know when I think of something I want to do whether it will lead to the internet or not.
- The good news: My secret fear that I waste hours surfing the net is unrealized. I do turn to the internet for lots of functions, but I don’t just surf. That said, I make a note to myself: Stay conscious of exactly what job I am doing and when done, stop. Close the lid.
This was an experiment worth doing. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to check my email.