If you’ve ever eaten copious amounts of junk food or watched a long stretch of trash TV, you’ll understand and appreciate the need for a break from those things. Every so often, the human animal needs a period of respite to recharge the body. After your third Twinkie you might say to yourself, “Shucks, I really ought to stop eating Twinkies for a bit.” It would kind of make you nauseous to go for another Twinkie. That’s how I get with social media sites.
I’ll be in my laptop-lit room, hand trembling over the keyboard at way-too-late o’clock just refreshing my Twitter feed. What’s everybody tweeting #GoT for? And then someone will have posted a link to a YouTube video. Yes I do want to see Bryan Cranston’s toothpaste commercial from 1997. But then that’ll lead me to a whole set of Breaking Bad outtakes I haven’t watched in a couple of weeks. Haha! Aaron Paul is always forgetting his lines. And then I’ll wonder what Aaron Paul has been up to lately, so I’ll flip through his recent photos on Instagram. Wow he got old already. I’m afraid I’ll keep going down that rabbit hole until I’m incapacitated in a pool of my own filth while a YouTube clip of a Neil Peart drum solo is buffering.
Thankfully, it hasn’t actually gotten to that point yet. Like I said, I catch myself doing this stuff now which means that I’m much more aware of my own behavior (thanks, Mindfulness Meditation). August 2008 is when it all really started. I joined Facebook. I was one of the last ones of my social sphere to sign up, and I was one of the first to jump ship (I permanently deleted my account in August of last year). In these five years I’ve also been on and off of Instagram, Snapchat, Buzzfeed, etc. I’ve definitely cut down how much time I waste online, but I still spend plenty of time staring at a blinking cursor trying to think of a witticism that will get me a shit ton of favorites. That’s when I go, “Okay, Nick, enough with the Twinkies. It’s unhealthy.” I’d rather be staring at a blinking cursor in Final Draft, struggling with a piece of music, a drawing, or even just spending that time outside doing something.
So I’m going on a diet of sorts. I have a lot of creative work that I’ve been neglecting, and I’ve finally faced the following realization: the time to work on this stuff is now. In the past when I’ve done digital cleanses it’s been great. (I’d recommend it to anyone who hates feeling unproductive for too long.) And that’s really what this whole post is about, folks. In order to give me more time each day to work on a number of projects, I’m following in Patton Oswalt’s footsteps and I’ll be unplugging from the Internet from Tuesday July 1st up through Friday August 1st.
I’m using ChromeNanny to block all of my social media sites for the next month, I’ll be limiting the use of my smart phone, and I’ll be journaling how it all goes as best I can so that I can report my findings to you all when I get back. I’ll leave you with the words of a much more talented writer than I, Mr. Oswalt himself:
“I want to de-atrophy the muscles I once had. The ones I used to charge through books, sprint through films, amble pleasantly through a new music album or a human conversation. I’ve lost them — willingly, mind you. My fault. Got addicted to the empty endorphins of being online. So I need to dry out, and remind myself of the deeper tides I used to be able to swim in — in pages, and celluloid, and sounds, and people.” –Patton Oswalt on going “Radio Silent” for the summer.