Digital fasting?

WTF? Serially... WTF?

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12 Replies - 750 Views - Last Post: 13 September 2010 - 07:32 PM

#1 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Digital fasting?

Posted 08 September 2010 - 11:36 AM

This lovely little article hit my post lunch news net. The Dirty Truth About Digital Fasts

I have never heard of heard of this term, or I have been on too many sites that would ignore this sort of personal ego stroking. That in itself is some sort of criticism - if someone I never knew wasn't here to post they weren't here do I care?

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[ Samuel is] troubled by the underlying narrative, that our ability to unplug is necessary to prove that we're not Internet addicts. We're supposed to demonstrate our grasp of human relationships by our ability to relate face-to-face, as well as online. We're supposed to show that we can be present by being absent from the web.


Okay.. so people are feeling too pressured to exist on different strata of social networking and connection - contrary to our base human desire to "tribe up".

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why do we have to describe our time offline as if we're going into some kind of recovery program? The very idea of a digital "cleanse" implies that our time online makes us dirty; the idea of a digital "fast" suggests that there's a virtue in going without.


Yes, the term was bugging me. Thank god it's not 'digital cleanse' - that just cuts too close to those Alli commercials that warn of "oily rectal discharges". *shudder*

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We are accustomed to defining our human experience in terms of what happens face-to-face: I want you to look me in the eye, bend my ear, scratch my back if I scratch yours. Those aren't metaphors: they're reflective of the way our culture sees human connection in fundamentally physical terms.


A bit more on the nature of words and the human experience.

Not a bad article, but I am looking from more out there.

Has anyone else done a 'digital fast'?

Does this mean I swear off the internet, but continue my digital painting? Does it mean no internet, no digital painting, but I can throw on Winamp to listen to music as I sketch with pastels? Okay.. Maybe I unplug my computer and just use my Zune... hmm... no.. Pitch out the Nook for something else? I guess how far does one "fast" for the digital experience? Enough to make it worth the time, or is that even possible?

I can see this 'fasting' quickly becoming an annoying 'badge of overcoming adversity' I hear people at work chattering about.

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"O.. M... G! I tots didn't have my phone for three hours, and it was like, the worst thing ever! I kept wanting to see if Troy texted me but I tots couldn't!"

"Girl you are sooooooo brave to overcome that sort of adversity! Cafa-frapa-ice-mocholatio-chinos on me!"


Another way to be smug at a minimal disturbance in one's life. Like the jackass kids in high school doing their "8 hour Fast for World Hunger". That was a detention for decking one of those fart-smelling idiots.

Maybe I am missing the point or some benefit. Let me know.

cliffs:
- wtf?! is digital fasting
- has anyone else done it?
- is there any benefit other than smug and fart smelling
- would you do it?

This post has been edited by modi123_1: 08 September 2010 - 12:53 PM


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Replies To: Digital fasting?

#2 dorknexus  Icon User is offline

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Re: Digital fasting?

Posted 08 September 2010 - 11:58 AM

i love your cliffs modi. i really really do.
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#3 taylorc8  Icon User is offline

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Re: Digital fasting?

Posted 08 September 2010 - 12:50 PM

I have done it, as you all know about my couple/few months off the interwebs.

Then that van.
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#4 dorknexus  Icon User is offline

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Re: Digital fasting?

Posted 08 September 2010 - 12:52 PM

when i go camping i guess it's kinda like digital fasting.
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#5 WolfCoder  Icon User is offline

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Re: Digital fasting?

Posted 08 September 2010 - 04:38 PM

I wouldn't mind for a little while if I didn't have so much work to do that involves it.

This post has been edited by WolfCoder: 08 September 2010 - 04:38 PM

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#6 Choscura  Icon User is offline

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Re: Digital fasting?

Posted 09 September 2010 - 12:06 AM

I did something similar... kind of unwillingly. When I first came to thailand I essentially had no contact with anyone, period. I spoke no thai, nobody around me spoke english, I had no means of transportation and no knowledge of where I was, no money, nothing. There was one person I stayed with who spoke english: I saw him about every other day. he taught me how to order a dish of food at a nearby restaurant, and that was how I ate, and that was my contact with the world. no internet, nothing, and this was for about a month, maybe two months, it's all kind of a blur. I had books to read (I had already read them when I brought them, with the idea i would use them as teaching aides to teach english), I had my computer (and I wrote a lot), but the real value I got out of it was that it forced me to rely on my own opinion and intellect. I would have an idea- and then I would catch myself thinking "oh, I'll see what people think of this idea at (x web site)" or "I'll check and see if this idea has been done already or if it's impossible or just stupid at (y web site)", and I couldn't do that anymore. and so I had to really figure things out for myself, which is probably the most valuable thing I've ever had to do.
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#7 Amadeus  Icon User is offline

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Re: Digital fasting?

Posted 09 September 2010 - 07:13 AM

I've not done it, and think I might find it very difficult. I'm a little leery of going to cottages where my phone doesn't get reception ;)
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#8 Jstall  Icon User is offline

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Re: Digital fasting?

Posted 09 September 2010 - 12:15 PM

It's far from fasting but some weekends I will endeavor to spend no time what so ever staring at glowing rectangles of any kind. It's nice to get a break and do something different now and then.
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#9 jumptrooper  Icon User is offline

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Re: Digital fasting?

Posted 09 September 2010 - 01:10 PM

View Postmodi123_1, on 08 September 2010 - 10:36 AM, said:

- wtf?! is digital fasting

Fasting (in general) is typically a tool for realigning your priorities and taking a moment to step back and evaluate things. Sometimes it really doesn't matter what the object or activity being given up is - rather, every time you think "I wish I was doing _____ right now" you remember why you aren't doing it and it stimulates further contemplation of whatever it is you're trying to focus on. It's also used to cultivate discipline.
Some people are legitimately addicted to their digital devices - not a ton of people, but some. And studies have shown that heavy users of the internet tend to have reduced attention spans, so "digital fasting" could be viewed as an attempt by some to limit any perceived negative effects from frequent usage.

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- has anyone else done it?

Not outright - but like others have mentioned, I guess I do it while camping or on vacation.

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- is there any benefit other than smug and fart smelling

Intention is probably the biggest determinant of "benefit" - If you're doing it because everyone else is doing it, it probably won't help you much. But if you're doing it to "remove distractions before making an important decision" or "to develop better work habits and maintain sustained focus", then it can be as useful as you make it to be.

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- would you do it?

Probably should since I'd get more done at work if I wasn't looking at this site every other minute.

But yeah, I agree the term is kinda weird.
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#10 Elcric  Icon User is offline

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Re: Digital fasting?

Posted 09 September 2010 - 01:55 PM

No I would not do it. I am an Internet addict! Humans will eventually evolve into cyborgs replacing their internal organs with random access memory and their bones with carbon fiber. We will not have to worry about being a couch potato because everyone will be a couch potato!
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#11 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: Digital fasting?

Posted 09 September 2010 - 02:01 PM

View PostElcric, on 09 September 2010 - 02:55 PM, said:

No I would not do it. I am an Internet addict! Humans will eventually evolve into cyborgs replacing their internal organs with random access memory and their bones with carbon fiber. We will not have to worry about being a couch potato because everyone will be a couch potato!


That sounds like a very sad and unfortunate world.
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#12 enigmamoirai  Icon User is offline

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Re: Digital fasting?

Posted 10 September 2010 - 09:47 AM

I recently wrote a paper for this same topic: offlining. I found this Wired Magazine article (http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/tag/offlining/) that pretty much asks the same questions you do. What exaclty is considered too much technology. Humans have always been technology advanced and evolved around technology. What exaclty makes the life we live now any different? The technology we have now, makes our lives easier. On my hour commute to work, I can bust out my netbook and write my paper, connect my pda to it and browse forums for school or personal wants. Technology makes my life easier. I like my pda for the features it gives me, sometimes I just wish people would stop calling and texting me...
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#13 1Timmy  Icon User is offline

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Re: Digital fasting?

Posted 13 September 2010 - 07:32 PM

I know sometimes when I'm righting a program I get so fed up with it that I just turn my computer off and play my guitar.But for emergencies I always keep it in arms reach (like watching a movie in hulu or checking this site out).
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