Sheesh - I don't know if it's because I am about to reach my 100th post, but I had a really hard time coming up with a topic for Web Secret #99.
I tried all my usual tricks - reading the tweets of my favorite Tweeps, clicking on my StumbleUpon button like a rat in a Skinner box, even taking the Geek Questionnaire looking for random inspiration.
And then I came upon "Back to reality: giving up the internet", an article in The Observer, a UK magazine.
Journalist Mark Hooper wondered if he could survive two weeks without checking his email, looking at the Internet or using his iPhone. Then he wrote about how difficult it was to let go, what he learned when he lived off-line, and what he discovered when he logged back on.
Mark also pointed out what we are quick to forget, which is that our current digital landscape is only about five years old. Go back to January 2005 and it's a pre-Facebook, pre-Twitter, pre-YouTube, pre-smart phone world.
Do you remember what you were doing then?
I actually don't.
I do know that in October 2005, I became a full time webmaster, and by mid 2008, I was heavily engaged in social media.
By the end of 2008, I adopted the following schedule:
During week-ends and vacations, I do not tweet, blog, write or answer e-mails. I do not write on Facebook walls. I do not go onto the Internet, except to look up the address of the latest restaurant, or book a movie ticket. I do not make business calls on my iPhone. In fact, I only use my iPhone to locate entertainment, track down the whereabouts of my teenagers, and play Scrabble.
During the average week-day, I spend at least 8 solid hours a day coding, creating presentations, writing articles on technology, and blogging and tweeting about social media. When the week-end comes around I stop. When I am on vacation, I stop.
To my readers and followers, I am still on the job , I use Hootsuite to schedule tweets in advance, and Blogger to schedule my posts.
And that my friends, is how I stay sane.
It's called taking a break. I suggest you try it.