Saturday, October 15, 2011

Sitting on the banks of the data stream

Usually when my Dad and I travel to York, PA, I go off the grid. My phone doesn't have a data plan (99% of the time I'm in a spot with Wi-Fi access), and the motel we stay in never has Internet access -- until this year.

So after telling everyone I know personally and professionally I was going to be unreachable for two days, I discovered I could be. If I chose to.

It was tempting to jump back into the rounds of social media conversations and emails, but I chose not to. Instead, I just.... watched. Watched other people carry on the Twitter conversations, the Facebook posts, the LinkedIn forums, the Google+ hangouts, etc.

I found the experience strangely empowering. I forgot that it's always my choice to respond or comment on what passes through my networks -- or if I respond, when I do so. For two days I occasionally checked on things. By the start of the second day I had lost the urge to post or reply.

Monday I'll get caught up on everything I need to, but I learned a valuable lesson. If I ever feel overwhelmed by the amount of information coming at me from all sides, I'll just take a little virtual vacation. Swimming in the data stream can be exciting, but sitting on the bank and watching it flow by can be relaxing -- and refreshing.

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