The Pledge

At Z Man’s, a commenter said that we need a movement to just throw cell phones away. I replied:

Just do it!!!

Seriously: Just do it. One of the pillars of persuasion is “social proof.” Another is “commitment and consistency.” Want to get rid of the phone, and make it stick? Make a pledge, publicly. I don’t want to suggest gumming up Z Man’s comments with our pledges to throw away cell phones, limit Internet use to 30 minutes a day, etc., but simply putting up a public declaration that “I, so-and-so, pledge to do XYZ” and urging other members of the community to hold you accountable would do wonders.… I’ll get the ball rolling: I, Severian, pledge to limit my Internet use to 45 minutes a day henceforth, and to not touch my cell phone unless I am actually in the process of making or receiving a call. I’ve sent the Z Man $10 in an anonymous envelope to his PO Box as earnest money.”

In return for getting the ball rolling, I ask that one of y’all ask me how my pledge is going, every single time you see me comment here (within reason, of course, since again we don’t want to be clogging Z Man’s comments with this stuff. I will also post a pledge on my own site and will update with my experience.

This is that post. It’s going to be tough to limit my Internet to 45 minutes per day, not least because it usually takes at least that long to write a post and I have a few other things I have to do with my Internet time… but I’ll try. I encourage y’all to take the pledge, too. And to hold me accountable. Let me know how it’s going in the comments.

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5 thoughts on “The Pledge

    1. Severian Post author

      Good idea. I’ll do that.

      But just to be clear, the point of the exercise isn’t “don’t blog” or “don’t read blogs” or whatever. The point is to do personally fulfilling activities that would otherwise be neglected because of online activity. I find writing personally fulfilling. I don’t have to be logged on to do it (except the occasional bit of research) and so it’s no problem at all.

      For me, personally, since I lack discipline, my best bet is to turn the device off entirely. I should be able to, say, listen to Spotify or whatever without incurring an “internet usage” penalty… but — knowing me– I’d figure that since the computer is already on, I might as well check email, and since I’m doing that, I might as well etc., and then I’ve spent two hours online, when I should’ve just put on a CD and gotten on with my writing project (or gardening or doing the dishes or just watching the world go by, something, anything, other than jerking off on the internet).

      1. Pickle Rick

        Out hunting, I shut the thing off. I’d leave it home entirely, but I do want it for emergencies. I hunt some back country places where breaking an ankle could kill you.

        It’s a bad habit like smoking. Once you get over the initial jonesing for the hit, you lose interest in it.

  1. MBlanc46

    Being mostly retired, I have time for more important activities and some time online. Such as four hours moving snow around today. Or, finally, cataloging my library. Or digitizing my LPs. Or re-reading Plato. Or trying to read Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit. But, yeah, the devices can lead one to frittering away hours and hours.

  2. Southern Belle

    More and more I am spending less and less time online. It’s like television, not much good stuff there anymore (like RC). I do have a library of images stored as I’m afraid that soon there will be nothing lovely to gaze upon. As for books, I read ones I can hold in my hand as I have a good home library. I also write so I am reading, editing, etc. I love the old ways of communicating and friends and family still receive cards and notes from me. One day in the near future I may learn shorthand…it might come in handy.

    Other activities: Photography, exploring woods, historic homes, container gardening, walking on beach, baking from scratch…so much to enjoy! Used to do volunteer work, but not anymore.

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