Closing the Screen 2


I’m not the best at Twitter. I’m objectively not the worst, and I’ve certainly gotten better at it, but there’s a lot of room for improvement in there.

As such, I don’t exactly get bombarded by notifications. Which is a little sad sometimes.

But this is mostly my fault. I live this sort of half-existence online. I try to not spend as much time on the Internet as I do, so I don’t actually make an effort to do anything that’s going to tie me there for longer than it needs to. So I lurk.

And when I post something, I sit around waiting for replies, likes, retweets, anything. And it’s not just Twitter. Anywhere I can post and reply to things and get a little red dot next to an inbox (sometimes with a little *ding* noise) I’ll sit around and just wait.

It’s excruciating. Sometimes I think it’s killing me.

Because once you put something out into the world, it’s hard to just let it go. You know who’s out there on the Internet. They’re great, they’re fun, they’re smart, they’re funny, they’re evil. And you want to know if you’re getting attention from any of them.

I imagine it must be how a parent feels when their child goes off to college. Maybe. Okay, probably not.

The truth is, I’m addicted to notifications, just like the rest of the smartphone-wielding world. We’re attached to these numbers, we believe we’re judged by how many people follow us or like our posts.

Sometimes, maybe it’s true.

So, what do we do? I, for one, am tired of being on the fence.

I was recently introduced to the idea of time-blocking. You don’t have to time-block your entire day, of course, but what if you write down an hour-long block of time where you’ll go through all the social media you need to deal with, catch up on blogs, leave your comments, check your replies, leave your mark with your own content, and then just shut down your computer?

That’s where I want to be. But it’s hard to go from obsession to moderation. There’s a fine line there. What I need is a reset. So I’m going to shut down for a little while. Maybe a month, maybe longer. You might see me on Twitter because it’s not like I’m packing up my phone, but I’m not going to have much of an online presence for a while.

I’ve relied on the Internet for far too long for far too many things. It’s not been healthy for me or my relationships. I need to reengage with the real world.

Just give me this time to be away from a computer screen (at least when I’m not editing) and I’ll come back when I can be responsible about how I use the computer. I need to learn how to turn the computer on when I need it and shut it down when I’m done.


Photo by Les Jay on Unsplash


About David Shank

David T. Shank is a writer, runner, and musician, in that order. His blog is hopefully an oasis among the vast ocean of negativity that is the Internet. He lives in Cleveland studying how to write good.


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2 thoughts on “Closing the Screen

  • Jon

    I have a similar problem. I turned off most notification settings on my phone (Instagram! Gmail!! FACEBOOK!!!) for this reason. But it only helped a little bit. Then I deleted the apps, thinking I outsmarted myself. Soon enough, I was logging into these sites through Safari (I have an iPhone which doesn’t help), eating up more of my time with failed password attempts. Then, there is the curse of refreshing your feeds, hopping from one app, going in circles, bored because these apps algorithms merry shuffle content into different orders to make every experience seem new (I’m catching on…)…

    But I like your idea here. I will have to try it!