Experimenting with Radio Silence: Five Observations From a Week of Listening

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Are you always on, available, and ready to share? Do you find yourself lured to whatever notification happens upon your mobile device, or the pop-up window in the corner of your screen? Do you have a bit of anxiety when you find you’re disconnected from your digital world? Have you found yourself wondering about disconnecting for a bit?

If you’re anything like me, you know that digital living can get out of balance. You know that there’s good online, and you know that there can be too much of a good thing! What could you learn from taking some extended time to listen? I call this Radio Silence. Intentionally stopping from sharing to your own digital channels to better observe and interact both online and off.

This past week I’ve intentionally stopped sharing content in digital spaces (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc) in an effort to observe and listen without the noise of notifications. In the short span of a few days I recognized how I’ve become accustomed to notifications and checking social sites constantly throughout my days. I’m no longer checking due to the notifications. I relentlessly check out of habit. I don’t like this development.

What have I learned in this simple experiment?
  1. Gratefulness: I am thankful for the many digital connections in my life. There are many connections in my life that I really only have in digital spaces. Many of my Facebook friends, most really, I have only briefly connected with in-real-life, IRL as the cool kids type
  2. Mindfulness: I found I would read something shared by a friend online my mind quickly switched from observation to promotion. I would read something that sparked a bit of an idea and quickly desire to share or repost the content to others. When I intentionally chose not to share, I found I focused more on the impact and meaning of the message for myself.
  3. Prioritization: I have not been sharing anything with the digital world and the impact has not been noticeable, to me or my connections. There have not been messages from my digital relations asking where I’ve been or what happened to my photos of breakfast and pithy inspirational quotes. The world continues to spin out it’s orbit. People are doing there thing. I found a bit of time better used too. My journal is finding more use. My thoughts are my own.
  4. Awareness: There are so many really cool things that are happening all around us. Some of those happenings are online – but more is happening just outside our skin. As young Mr. Bueller reminded us: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Today as I write these words I’m aware of the changing seasons happening just outside our patio doors. Rains have been falling throughout the day, and this past week too. Leaves are changing into their fall colors and beginning to flutter to the ground blanketing the area in golden hues. 
  5. Generosity: Specifically, generous with time. Time is the one commodity we all measure the same. Each moment, minute, hour, day, week, month, year. Our lifetimes are filled with moments in time. None of us know how much time we will be given, but we all chose how we will focus during our time. In this mini experiment I’ve found my focus begin to change from simply consuming my time toward a desire to use my time more effectively. Especially focused on the use of my wasted time, those throw away moments when I often check-in with my social channels and notifications. I want to become more generous with my time. I want to give more of my time and attention to creative pursuits, toward activities that can be of value to others in meaningful ways.

What do you think about completing your own experience with Radio Silence? Would you benefit to focus on listening for a while? What changes could you make, or have you made, to be intentionally observant or carefully curating what you promote?
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Thanks so much!