Derrick’s post has me thinking about tech sabbaths/breaks/holidays/fasts. Lots of folks seem to take time in the summer to disconnect, which strikes me as not a bad thing. danah takes email sabbaticals and Dan’s taking time to let his brain regenerate after finishing his Master’s program.
It strikes me that there’s a potential distinction between disconnecting to and disconnecting from. (I know that they’re not entirely distinct functions.) In the case of the former, people are unplugging to do something- travel, spend more focused time with family, nap, have a leisurely lunch, etc. The latter seems to suggest that there’s something about digital life that’s makes one feel less than healthy.
If one’s purpose in disconnecting is to get away from particular things that are stressful, I wonder if it wouldn’t be valuable to think about ways to make those things less stressful while one is connected. For example, if email causes stress, explore ways to better manage it. If the speed of Twitter or particular people you follow suck the life out of you, unfollow them. (Twerpscan is a good tool for this.) If the thought of joining yet another social network (say, Google+) makes you sick to your stomach, say no thanks to the invite. Or join, but limit yourself following a Path-like 50. If you have trouble writing while connected, check out some distraction reduction software.
Sometimes it’s not the being connected that zaps energy, it’s the way we work when we are connected.