I pride myself on being a man of few vices. There is not much in my life that I would not be able to give up at the drop of a hat. Coffee? No problem. I go weeks at a time without a cup and often don’t even realize it. Video games? Whatever. I have plenty of other ways I like to spend my time. Meat? Ha! I was a vegetarian for 8 months just for the fun of it (don’t say a word, Steve!)
So, last week when John Mayer threw out the challenge to do a week-long digital cleanse to kick off the new year, I was more than ready to prove my lack of attachment to the online world that has so quickly become our “town square”. So here we are one week later (minus a couple of necessary cheats ), this is what I have learned…
I have a wonderfully simple and rich life filled with some truly deep relationships. I have a great community around me and no shortage of opportunity to engage in meaningful discourse with other people.
My life is not a series of fragmented interactions lacking in real human contact (as many will criticize the online community of). If anything, social networking and online interaction have helped deepen and enhance many of my most meaningful relationships, for they allow me to share all the aspects of my life with the people I care about… even the mundane.
Let’s be honest: life is mostly a series of mundane moments with odd flashes of the spectacular. When we fail to share everyday life with the people around us we fail to share ourselves.
It’s quite true that the rest of the world does not care about my little 140 character thoughts, or what I had for lunch, or how I am feeling in any given moment. But my friends do, and by inviting them into those little moments whether by email or facebook or twitter as they happen, I am making possible the living of life together and ensuring that when we are face to face our time is not just spent catching up, or updating.
And that’s just scratching the surface of how the digital world has impacted and enhanced my physical reality (I won’t even begin to talk about the vast array of valuable ideas, perspectives and resources I’ve come across). So I for one am thankful for how the digital world enhances my physical.
And don’t worry; I won’t be doing a cleanse again anytime soon. As Brett so eloquently put it, “seriously, a digital cleanse? You just entered the digital world a few weeks ago!”. And I’m sure glad I did.
If you are reading this as a note on facebook, may I recommend you visit www.shawnbaran.blogspot.com for the full service version? Some things will make more sense if you do.