I’ve never been much for dieting. Truth is, I’ve never really needed it.
Forget all the thoughts that just ran through your head. Well, assuming you’re human, you probably shouldn’t really forget all the thoughts that just ran through your head because it’s plausible that your mind wandered and you pondered on all sorts of things unrelated to diets, such as polar bears or rotary telephones.
It’s also plausible that you started reading this post on a laptop while on an airplane, which then crashed and you ended up on a remote and magical island for years and years. When you finally get back home the government mails you your old laptop, which was magically preserved in the airplane wreckage. So you powered up the laptop and found, once again, this post. So please don’t forget all the thoughts that ran through your head from the time you read the first sentence until now. Unless, of course, you want to.
So now that I’ve successfully made you forget what this post is all about, I will proceed.
On March 28th, 2009 I began cultivating selective ignorance. I stopped following Twitter. I even nearly stopped posting to Twitter. I stopped reading blogs. I stopped wasting time on Facebook. I didn’t check my email nearly as much as before. I kind of wish I was into mainstream news so I could have stopped following it as well.
As you can see from my twitter stats, my average tweets per month for November-March was 133. During the month of April, however, I only tweeted 42 times, which I admit still seems like too much, but that number doesn’t show the biggest change, which was in the time I was spending on Twitter. Time spent on Twitter in April was negligible in comparison to previous months.
You’ll also notice on that stats page that Twitter usage has gone up since April. I’ve regressed a bit, which is actually why I’m posting this now. I started writing this back in April, but decided to wait to see how it went. I wrote this paragraph back in April:
How long will I stay on this new low information diet? I don’t really know. It’s hasn’t been long enough for it to be a good experiment. What I really aim to accomplish is to put the constant stream of information in its proper place. I don’t want twitter to be as big a part of my life has it has been in the past. The same goes for email and blog reading.
I certainly accomplished what I set out to do. I put the constant stream of information in its place. And I enjoyed it. The problem is that as I have added things back into my life they haven’t stayed in their proper places, rather they tend to try to move back in, consuming everything they used to.
So I’ve experimented and learned. I’m now readjusting and moving forward.
Then we’ll all be dead.
We’ll all be dead and I’ll be the one who has spent more time having fun. Have fun with your news.
Seriously though, I hear about important news. I haven’t missed anything. People talk. Nothing went wrong as a result of my information diet. On the contrary, things have been better. I’ve actually had more time for reading books. I feel better. I’m happier.
Would anything go wrong if I kept this up for the next 5 years? Perhaps, if you consider not knowing things like that the Obama family is spending their vacation at some lush resort as something going wrong, then yes, a lot of things will go wrong for me. I won’t know a lot of things that don’t matter. And for that I am quite happy because, as a result, I will know more of the things I wish to know of.
In the pursuit of knowledge, something is added every day. In the pursuit of enlightenment, something is dropped every day. -- Lao Tzu, found on twitter the day I decided to start this whole selective ignorance thing.
Oh, I do intend to keep reading the blogs of family and friends, but will cut back on everything else. Also, I’d like to apologize in advance for not reading and starring your funny tweets (you know who you are).
I am jealous of your ability to cut the unnecessary out of your life. I think I might follow suit after I finish reading The 4 Hour Work Week which is basically a list of unnecessary things I should cut out of my life…
Sounds kind of ironic, I know… but I promise, I’ll do it.
Yeah. I see how it is.