It’s time for digital de-tox

Smoky Mountains National Park — The site of my digital de-toxification!

Yesterday I commented on the increasing time commitments and frustrations of social media maintenance. To get released from the daily digital tornado, I went cold turkey — escape to the mountains without wireless service, computer or cell phone.
It was tough to get out of town. Calls, deadlines, and commitments to “get to it Monday.” Finally I headed to the mountains … with the cell phone in my suitcase.
For the entire first day I was tired, irritable and twitchy. I’m used to filling every available minute with email and Internet updates and I nervously reached for an iPhone that wasn’t there. Instead, I pulled out a book. Napped. Took a hike. Sat quietly by a pristine mountain lake.
By day two I was markedly more relaxed (isn’t “markedly” a grand word for somebody named “Mark?”). It was begnning to sink in just how much I needed to get away. I found myself regretting that I would soon be back in civilization. It was a relief to break away from the pummeling emails, alerts and requests.
I have a lot to think about. By filling spare time with constant digital stimulus/response, am I efficient or am I a junkie?
A few weeks ago, I wrote an article on how rapid-fire stimulation is re-wiring our youth. How is it affecting me? Am I built for this? Isn’t our DNA wired for hunting and gathering more than continuous text messaging?
In the past six months, time in front of the computer screen has doubled as I attend to my “regular job” AND new demands from social media … which is now PART of my regular job as a marketer, business leader and teacher. How do I adjust to this fact of life and still maintain balance?
Is anybody else starting to feel consumed by the opportunities, commitments and frustrations of social media? How are you dealing with it? What tools are you using to automate, simplify and cope?
There is almost no discussion on this topic on the airwaves. We should talk about it. And by the way, I’m glad you’re here. : )

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