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Do you need to go on an ‘information diet’?

texting information diet social media obsession

If bings, pings and flashing screens rule your life, you may need to scale back on the value-less information you consume.

June 18, 2012 5:09 by

After much persuasion, a long-time ‘dumb-phone’ enthusiast friend of mine got with the times with a Samsung Galaxy. It may only be fifteen days since she has had this ‘intelligent’ device, but the impact it has on her life is startling. Watching how her otherwise organized day is punctuated and disturbed by random ‘pings’ of her phone has served as a mirror for the disruptive role technology plays in my life. I notice she furtively sneaks glances at the phone every five minutes, quite like a nervous twitch. In addition, conversations with her tend to trail off into mumbling gibberish as she taps on the screen, replying to “just one last Whats App/ email/ facebook message” she just got.

Now, I am quite aware her new found screen-tapping-obsession is the novelty of just acquiring a smart phone. Give her some time and soon she will learn to ignore the unending stream of notifications for updates and messages. Nonetheless, I just can’t shake the eerie feeling of seeing my own rapid descent into social-media obsession in her behavior. It feels a bit like watching an accident waiting to happen.

Which is why, I found the concept of the CTO of Twitpic’s Steven Corona 30-day-long information diet very interesting. Corona, swore of the bad stuff—Facebook,  Twitter, Reddit and Hacker News—to create “more value in my life, quit hoarding information, and appreciate the time that I spent with friends.” So how did he fare? Well you can check out his blog post titled How 30 days without Social Media changed my life, but if you want the Cliff Notes version, it went very well. 30 days without social media meant Corona had more time to meditate, write, build on friendships and exercise.

It is probably worth noting merely quitting social media doesn’t mean you will become super productive—you need to put some effort. At the same time, it is inspiring to know just how much more productive you could be if you put aside those ‘smart’ distractions that seem to rule our lives. After all how much of value is checking social media websites every five minutes, adding to your life?

So do you need to go on an information diet? If you are anything like me, chances are you do. I am not proud to admit this, but I Whats App-ed on my phone more than four times during writing this very small post. Yes, I need help.

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