Don't get me wrong. I love technology and I love social media. But sometimes I feel I/you/society have/has lost the plot. So in response, i've tried to adopt a 5 point plan to coping. My Digital Life Manifesto, if you will.
- Less weak connections, more strong connections. I’m spending far too much time reading the musings of people I hardly know (and probably would never like if I ever met them) and not enough time with my “true” friends and family. Distractedly reading the tweets of a social media consultant in Ohio should not trump playing with my kids. Time to step away from the digital device (for example, I physically put my phones/tablets/laptops as far away as I can at home) and actually meet people i know and love. Oh, and when I do meet up, remember to not be checking my iPhone all the time rather than engaging in good old conversation.
- More dumb devices. There’s a reason why in the “olden days” (i.e. pre-2006) I used to go off to a quiet spot or room to get stuff done. ITS CALLED FOCUS. The same applies to our digital lives. Smartphones and tablets only serve to distract you from what needs to be done. So I’m going to be ruthless and kill the alt-tab culture and go back to using more dedicated (or I guess, dumb) devices. So when I listen to music I’m using my iPod CLASSIC and taking the time to enjoy my tunes (it also handles my 12,000+ library too). And if I want to read an eBook, I use my Kindle and actually read (not flick to twitter, check the footie or reload facebook). I even have a separate personal phone for (certain) evenings and (most) weekends that doesn’t contain my work calendar or work email. My good friend Roger Warner has gone one step further – using one that can only text and make calls. Read his DumbPhone Manifesto for further inspiration. DUMB DEVICE BONUS POINT! Battery life on dumb devices is awesome.
- Turn off the twitter firehose and end FOMO. I’ve been tweeting for over 3 years but I still have only the one stream in my twitter clients. I’ve gradually come addicted to continually checking for updates (boy does facebook feel so sloooow compared to twitter), fiddling with my iPhone every 10 minutes even late into the night (and annoying my wife when at home and my friends when out and about). Some call it the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO). But you know what, having taken a break over Xmas (I deleted twitter from my iPhone), I didn’t feel any less informed or less connected. So it’s time to (finally) use those lists and focus. So a careful bit of curating and I’ll hand pick the accounts I love and build mini-firehoses in Tweetdeck.
- Twitter egotists – your time is over (part 1). OK, so if you’re Ashton Kutcher or Stephen Fry you deserve a bit of a latitude in the broadcast vs conversation debate. Fair enough, you can’t possibly follow back and engage all your followers (although Mr. Fry tries admirably, following 50,000 or so). But if you’re a white collar worker in the marketing or advertising industry – shame on you. You are not a celebrity nor are you a person of importance. Stop the broadcasting, you have nothing special to say anyway. 10,000 followers & 800 following? In 2012 - UNFOLLOW.
- Twitter egotists – your time is over (part 2). I follow you. You don’t follow me? In 2012 – UNFOLLOW. (And yes, I know I have to get my house in order in reverse :-))
So there you have it. That’s my 5 point Digital Life Manifesto. Anyone with any more?