My 1 Week, John Mayer Inspired Digital Cleanse

Editor’s Note: I originally wrote this article last year for another publication after reading about John Mayer’s One Week Digital Cleanse challenge.  When going through past clips recently, I realized I never posted it on You Sing I Write and thought you might be curious as to whether I survived a week without digital and social media. You can read all about it below. Enjoy! Love to know your thoughts.

The New Year is time to make a fresh start and create resolutions that will hopefully last longer than the first week of the year. So, when I heard of John Mayer’s one week digital cleanse, I thought why not? A full week without tweeting, facebook stalking, entertainment and gossip sites, texting, checking email from your phone – no problem! Think again.

Being engulfed in the social media world for what seems like an eternity, I quickly realized how much my day to day activities completely rely around this seemingly digital universe. But, I also learned how productive my life can be without it. Maybe John Mayer is on to something after all.

Day 1:
1: 50 pm
FAIL: Texted Dad Happy New Year.
4:34 pm: I start receiving texts from the girls on plans for the evening. In total, I accumulate 12 text messages from six different people. Since Mayer’s rules include no texting I pick up the phone and call them. Most of my friends already know of my digital cleanse, but keep forgetting and continue to text me to which I pick up the phone and call them back once again. Who knew making plans for the night is so much easier via text? I can’t remember the last time I actually talked on the phone this much.

6:20 pm: I call three friends to wish each a happy New Year which results in two voicemail messages. The two respond back by text. Really, people?

11:45 pm: We’re all at the bar and its karaoke night. Two guys sing a God-awful rendition of Taylor Swift’s “Our Song.” I try to control myself and don’t update my Twitter. A few songs later and a guy is singing a metal version of Backstreet Boys’ “Everybody.” My friends find it ridiculous. I know my Twitter followers would be amused, but I resist.

Day 2:
1:05 pm:
I wake to a text from a friend that reads, “Sorry I texted u last night and when u called I remembered ur digital cleanse. I will call u if I need u for the rest of the week.”

I don’t receive any texts the rest of the day and (gasp!) don’t even turn on the computer. Although, I can’t deny periodically checking my phone for messages.

Day 3:
I think I’m finally starting to embrace the digital cleanse. I check my mail from my laptop and delete all the Twitter and Facebook updates without reading. I must admit I want to see all the tagged New Year’s Eve photos posted, but I successfully resist the temptation.

3:28 pm: I receive a text from a friend asking about my weekend and I call her back and chat for an hour or so. Normally we’d talk via text for the next 20 minutes, but instead talk on the phone about our New Year’s Eve, latest boy crushes and concert plans for the week. I have to admit, I feel refreshed. It’s almost like I’m back in high school. I don’t think I’ve talked this much on the phone in years.

I have definitely become more productive without the distraction of Twitter and Facebook while writing articles and reviews. Where some days it would take me a day to complete an album review, today it takes me three hours since I have nothing to sidetrack me.

Day 4
Not having g-chat has proved to be difficult as Monday begins, but I have no excuses today to get my writing done. In my spare time, (because let’s face it, there is a lot of it now!) I finally pick up a book I’ve been meaning to read for years – Rob Sheffield’s “Love Is a Mix Tape.” One of my favorite Rolling Stone writers, I lose myself for hours reading about his life and music.

FAIL: While looking for articles to pitch it’s nearly impossible to not wind up on a gossip or entertainment site. I finish reading an article about Leighton Meester getting advice from Cyndi Lauper before I realize I’m on a gossip site. This digital cleanse is proving more difficult when working in the media and publishing industry, but I fight on.

8pm: This is the first concert I attend in months where I am not live Twitter reporting. I can’t help but notice during every set the performer adds, “Follow me on Twitter.” I meet Ryan Cabrera (remember his infamous hit “On the Way Down?”) and defy the urge to update Twitter. During his set he takes a Twitter request. I can’t resist the thought that the entire universe keeps revealing Twitter to me. I think its official: I’m a Twitter addict.

Day 5
I’m starting to feel cut off from the world. Two more days! I can do this! My friends all took the hint and stopped texting me completely. Two have kept calling me to keep in touch so I don’t feel completely out of the loop.

I interviewed an up-and-coming New York-based musician today and we had a full conversation about my Twitter detox. He said he will leave me @ replies for when I come back to the 21st century Friday. Today I am convinced that Twitter has to be the most used word. When emailing to find information on a new media workshop I’m interested in taking I am advised to “Check our Web site and follow us on Twitter” for the latest updates.

My production is off the charts today. I transcribed two interviews, had a phone interview and wrote a few articles. A friend just tagged me in 15 photos on Facebook… I resist.

Day 6
Today was a good day. I chatted with a friend for an hour on the phone and caught up with her creative endeavors where I would usually just find out through 140-character updates on Twitter. I have actually stuck to my New Year’s resolution of learning guitar. I played for 30 minutes today. Maybe if I succeed in this digital cleanse John Mayer will give me a free lesson. Just throwing it out there…

I met up with some music industry friends tonight for pizza where I realize I must be the only person without Internet on my phone. Earlier last week I was considering an upgrade, but after this week I think I can survive without.

Day 7
Today is my last day of the John Mayer-inspired one-week digital cleanse. I’ve had a few missteps, but all in all, I have surprised myself and friends with my relentless dedication. While it is the 21st century and many of these forms of social media are considered necessary to some, I’ve found that (big shocker!) it IS possible to exist without them.

You really don’t need to respond to every text message or Twitter update. Life will go on without checking your email 24/7 or looking at every tagged Facebook photo. Hey, who knows, if I continue this cleanse for the entire year maybe I’ll become good enough at guitar to join John Mayer’s band. Probably not, but it’s worth a shot.

What do you think? Are you addicted to social media? Could you pull off a digital cleanse?