Posted In: Process

Signing Off – Going Anti-Social

Signing Off

I’m taking a leave of absence from the internet. For the rest of 2013, I am going anti-social. That means no logging on to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Dribbble, Feedly and whatever the latest social media channel or reporting tool of the week is. This is not a new concept, and I’m not trying to take credit for any sort of outside-the-box thinking, but lately it’s become apparent that a digital cleanse is long overdue in my life, albeit, somewhat terrifying.

There are two factors driving this decision. First, my brain has become hard wired for that millisecond of surface-level gratification that comes with every like, share, or retweet. I’m sure there’s a study out there that explains what it is about those little notifications that makes us consume and share like some sort of digital amphetamine. I’m not a betting man, but I’d wager it has something to do with our extreme insecurities and need for continual validation.

Furthermore, it’s become apparent that everyone is having the same conversation. Nothing novel about this concept and I’m sure not the first to point it out. However, when every other creative-type-person brands themselves as a “lifestyle designer” slash “digital nomad” or when my Instagram feed is bogged down with the same three photos regurgitated through various filters and hashtags, something’s gotta give. And I’m not claiming to be without guilt as I’ve most definitely used the words lifestyle and design together as well as have #campvibed the shit out of some faded-ass photos.

Purging The Cache

I’ve established some rules for the next few weeks to help me stick to the cleanse.

  1. I will only be creating and publishing original work, or content found offscreen.
  2. I will only be publishing to my personal sites and Flickr page.
  3. I can only seek inspiration offscreen.
  4. I may only use the internet as a research tool after an idea or inspiration has occurred offline.
  5. No logging into any of the aforementioned accounts or checking notifications.
  6. Limit checking email to 3 times a day.
  7. Spend 1 hour a day making. This includes writing, drawing, taking or editing photos.

The Other Side

In keeping with Scott Adams advice on utilizing systems in place of goals to measure success, if I can stick to these 7 constraints, I will consider the purge an achievement. While I’m not exactly sure what that looks like, I will hope to have further defined my own voice, narrative, and style. I look forward to sharing my thoughts and process along the way.

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5 Responses to “Signing Off – Going Anti-Social”
  1. Thy

    Good on you! I know I need to back off and be outside more as well. Unfortunately, I think it’s a sad side effect of being a designer. Thanks for inspiring. Hoping you’ll still want to come out to the freelance lunch/meet up if I can ever pick a date 🙂 I figure it’s another way to get us out of our respective homes/offices and have some face time (the real kind).

    Happy digi-cleanse!

  2. Alex

    Thanks for the kind words Thy! The other night I just closed the computer and took the dogs for a walk. It’s amazing what goes unnoticed right outside our door because we’re too busy staring off into some bottomless rectangle. It’s no wonder we’re always feeling overwhelmed. It’s definitely refreshing to just turn off and create not for the likes or shares, but solely for yourself.

    Looking forward to lunch, just let me know the details and I’ll do my best to make it.

  3. David Pilcher

    So – how did you do in 2014 with this? Are you back in? Any insights?

  4. irene

    Great news, well done!
    Actually I am in the process of doing the same, I quit FB yesterday and now I am counting solely on my blog, website and twitter (pro page). I feel so different now that I am off FB…It’s unbelievable, how your mood can change IMMEDIATELY.
    I am an artist too and until I was on FB I sort of had a block because I thought ‘oh whatever’…so scary!
    Anyway good luck, I’m sure your journey to get connected to your truest self will be amazing, and the wonders you will produce *-*

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