Discipling the Body

Minimize the Inputs

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Following up on my post yesterday, here are the first steps I’m taking to regain control of my time and attention:

  • Deactivating Facebook
  • Keeping the twitter app on my phone, but turning off notifications. I occasionally need this for work, and it’s a pain to log back in to the various accounts, so I’ll keep it installed, tucked into a folder. 
  • Deleted my Instagram apps
  • Deleted my RSS reader apps
  • Deleted my Pocket apps
  • Deleted most of my YouTube playlists.

I’m still down with reading blogs occasionally, but I have some of my favourites bookmarked. This should add enough friction that I won’t visit them too often. The new rule, is not to check them unless I have time to read them, right then and there. The strength of read it later services like Pocket and Instapaper is that it saves the article for offline reading, so you can read it anywhere. Whereas, reading an article when you have to be connected means there are only certain times when you can read them. I think it adds more intentionality.

Facebook is my biggest foe. I’ve done social media fasts before, usually during Lent and I really enjoy them. It’s very freeing. While I am a little worried about what I may miss, I know in reality that I won’t miss much. I may miss some birthdays, but in reality, I don’t know most of these folks well enough to wish them a happy birthday normally, so do FB best wishes really mean that much. I’m tired of being addicted to the little red badge, and the multitude of Birthday wishes, when in reality there are just a few that are truly meaningful.

I plan on being off Facebook at least until my second son is born in about 50 days. Even then, I wonder. I feel this urge to share pictures of the new life that will appear in the world. I know many people will be genuinely happy for us, but I wonder. I wonder if the positives outweigh the negatives. When Facebook first came around, I was one of the last of my friends to get on board. I didn’t understand the purpose of it. I’m not sure if I have any clearer answer now. It has allowed me to make connections that previously would have been difficult, but it can also cause great damage to in-person relationships. I’m not saying social media is inherently evil or anything. The company itself may have issues, but the tool is amoral. How you use it defines whether it’s used for a moral or immoral purpose.

We’ll see what this experiment brings and whether or not I do reactivate my account when our son is born.

I can already tell that I will become less clingy to my phone. I will stay keep it with me, especially when I’m at work and my wife is at home with our child(ren), but I won’t really have anything to “check” because as much as I still have a ton of apps on my phone, most of them don’t have a purpose until I activate them. They don’t bing, bond, boop, or bop unless I tell them to. So, right away my relationship with my technology with change. I imagine for a while I will feel that pull to check my phone, just in case I missed a notification and the POTUS needs me to negotiate a peace accord; or worse, my wife needs me to pick up something from the grocers on the way home.

Will my relationship with technology become more relaxed over time. Will I see my iPhone and iPad more like tools for my use and not the other way around? Will I then turn to alternate sources of information and entertainment, like, I don’t know: books?

I also want to look at limiting the amount of TV I watch (we’re a no cable, iTunes/Netflix family). So much of TV is formulaic and I’m guessing what the plot twists are and usually can guess who the murder is before the midway point of the show.

So, that’s where I’m at so far. Facebook disconnect: T-48 hours.

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