Unplugged in an over plugged society

I’m inspired on a daily basis – by clients, by campaigns, by friends and family, as well as the behaviour of strangers. (I’m also bored, annoyed, or frustrated by the same people just as often, so I’m not a gullible pushover by any means.) However subliminally, I’m attracted to people who have a different perspective on life, who challenge and discuss and debate so that I can engage, and eventually edit down to a view that works for me. At least that’s the case in every area of my life bar one. In cyberspace, the editorial gene that’s a natural given in every other part of my existence goes awol.

I have more than 33,000 emails in my work inbox, I subscribe to every newsletter and bulletin, I am that sad person who looks out for the Twitter counter, and I spend an average of 2 hours each evening reading bulletins (isn’t Pocket just great?) and surfing cyberspace on my iPad. Much to my partner’s annoyance, I tweet on dates and What’s App has become my latest go-to button on my mobile for every spare second.

So, inspired by Cheil’s Daniele Fiandaca, I’m doing a digital detox. I’ll be switching off my mobile and turningaway from the tablet in the middle of February. Before anyone breaks out in a cold sweat, I should add that this detox will be much less in duration than the 3 weeks Daniele did – a measly four days over a long weekend.

But I’ll be making a point of taking a digital holiday regularly and I’m not alone in needing some unadulterated me-time. A mate recently posted on FaceBook that she was drastically ‘editing’ her list of friends as part of a digital springclean, while another has deleted all her personal social media accounts to make time for what she calls ‘real life’. They’re in good company – Kate Moss is ‘rocking the new lo-fi trend’ according to Grazia magazine, while the Guardian last week reported 600,000 leaving Facebook in one month alone. And of course the emergence of digital detox clinics at the start of this year has seen every other lifestyle reporter snaffle up the freebie.

Don’t get me wrong – at Velvet, digital is part of our DNA. We see amazing work come from our clients that has real relevance, that entertains and engages its target market. We see the hard impact it can make on bottom lines. In most instances, we see it done outstandingly well. As professionals, there’s no question that digital has made keeping up with the news agenda – a vital prerequisite for anyone working in media – easier and quicker than it’s ever been.

Like everyone around me, I revel in this life of continuous connection that has come to seem so normal. But an digital edit is long overdue, because I revel far more in face-to-face interaction, in the art of conversation, and yes, in quiet and uninterrupted reflection.