Simplifying my digital life *progress report*

At the end of 2010 I boldly declared my intention to simplify my digital life and that’s proving to be a bigger challenge than I thought but I’m making a few discoveries.

Firstly, I began unsubscribing from countless sites I no longer visit and discovered that some sites are excellent in making it relatively easy, clear and simple to deactivate, delete or unsubscribe. Others, frustratingly did not. On more than a few there was no button, no page, no instruction – trapped. Sort of. As I’ve deactivated a few old email addresses I just updated my settings with an old email address that no longer works. That felt like a reasonable quid pro quo.

My action point from this is that I shall endeavour not to sign up to sites that don’t have an easy opt-out. I want to try new things and that means signing up but if it doesn’t work for me then I want to easily unsubscribe.

Secondly, the vast numbers of useless sites I’ve logged into means that I’ve not been very discerning or thoughtful about things I’ve tried. A more thoughtful and researched approach might be more time consuming but would be more fruitful and less of a consumerist approach. Off-line I pause before buying, sometimes for months. On-line I’ve bought into the idea of instant gratification and that’s not great.

As I’ve been doing this I’ve been thinking how I use social media and I’m going to make some changes to how I use Facebook and Twitter (I’ll put those in a separate post) and stream-line the programmes the online services and programmes I use. I’ll probably cull my bookmarks at some point too.

What’s the point in all of this? I’m too distracted by the internet. It’s a good servant and a terrible master and so in my life needs a kick into place. I enjoy trying new things and experimenting with new tools but that too needs some balancing and readjusting. Simplicity and clarity are beautiful things almost everywhere (second-hand bookshops aside) and I want to apply some of that to the bloated monster that I fear my on-line life is becoming.

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