I was never completely where I was


David Roberts: Re-boot or Die Trying. One Man’s Year of Digital Detox:

[…] There was no such thing as caught up; there was, at best, keeping up. To step away from e-mail, news feeds, texts, chats, and social media for even a moment was to allow their deposited information to accumulate like snow in the driveway, a burden that grew every second it was neglected.

I spent most of my daytime hours shoveling digital snow. The core of my job—researching, thinking, writing at greater-than-140-character length—I could accomplish only in the middle of the night, when things calmed down. I spent more and more hours working, or at least work adjacent, but got less and less done.

Meanwhile, my mind and body adapted to the pace of digital life, with its ceaseless ping ping ping of notifications and alerts. I got twitchy if I was away from my phone for more than a few seconds. I felt it vibrating in my pocket when it wasn’t there, took it with me to bed, even to the bathroom. (I got pretty good at tweeting while I peed, to my enduring discredit.)

All my in-between moments, the interstitial transitions and pauses that fill the cracks of a day, were crowded with pings. My mind was perpetually in the state that researcher and technology writer Linda Stone termed continuous partial attention. I was never completely where I was, never entirely doing what I was doing. I always had one eye on the virtual world. Every bit of conversation was a potential tweet, every sunset a potential Instagram […]

Don’t miss the rest of the story here: Reboot or Die Trying. One Man’s Year of Digital Detox.

Image: “Crackphone” from Saltywaffle.com


  1. Undeniable Truth! Wondering the possibilities of ‘shoveling digital snow”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is so frighteningly descriptive of my entire life in big law. It echoes in my head, as I nod – and shudder. And one goes through some odd form of detox when you start to let it go…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sounds like all the younger generation….this is what they’ve grown up with. “I was never completely where I was, never entirely doing what I was doing.” So true!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Soooo profoundly disturbing. I hope I never get to this point–I’m bad, but not THIS bad. And boy, can this guy write! Loved the piece–thx so much for the heads up, DK! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Start small, for example, by leaving your devices at home when you run. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  6. That’s pretty alarming really, just shows absolutely anything can become addictive. It’s difficult to get away from social media, once you’re connected, how do you truly unconnect without everyone thinking you’re a weirdo?

    Liked by 1 person

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