The idea was to do a three day media fast. There weren't really a lot of hard and fast guidelines because it wasn't meant to be this legalistic rule-fest. It was just a challenge to cut back on screen time to see if any differences in efficiency, attention span, stress levels, and the like could be detected in as little as three days.
In the Rush house, we decided to do a crazy thing and use our phones like... ahem... phones. What a concept, amirite? Instead of firing off dozens of texts, we decided we'd actually pick up the phone and speak.
And here's what I learned after three days - when I actually have to pick up my phone and utter phrases, I constantly weigh my words.
I ask myself if what I have to say is really important enough to warrant a phone call right this very moment. If it's pressing enough that I need to call someone in the middle of the day to share this thought with them. Or tell them this funny story or ask their opinion.
Which then led me to think about Facebook.
How funny do you think most of the Facebook status updates would be if they were spoken? How strange would it be if your phone rang and a friend just said something like, "It's a big, big day!" or "Chips and guacamole!" or "Taking a morning walk" and then hung up the phone?
Kinda crazy, right?
All of a sudden, those words that we felt were so important to type don't seem nearly as big a deal when we have to call and say them to someone.
Don't get me wrong - I'm a big fan of texting. I'm often able to respond to someone more quickly and efficiently via text rather than a phone call that requires more of my time and attention. But maybe the constant barrage of texts flowing out of my phone are just not quite as important as I thought they were when I consider speaking them instead.
And if texting doesn't really require me to be that tuned in, does that really count as having a "conversation" with someone? I don't think so because when I've had several days of just texting with my big girls, it feels like we've been speaking in bullet points. And then I request a phone call so I can hear their voices. Or even better, a Skype call so I can hear their voices and see their faces.
But I am more aware of my words. I'm thinking a little more before I post a status update or send a text.
And after three days unplugged, I don't think that's such a bad thing to learn.