E-mail, Social Networks and Extended Vacations

When I was in Europe for five weeks, I didn’t spend any time fretting over Twitter or Facebook. I deleted most of my e-mails with great enthusiasm. And amazingly enough, doesn’t appear that I missed much. In fact, life was pretty good off the grid. Pretty good indeed.

And something tells me that I am not alone in thinking about this. Monica Hesse has an interesting article in The Washington Post, “Keeping up with social networking sites: How much is enough?”  Here’s from the article:

“The basic notion that people reach a technological saturation point applies to a lot of people,” says Lee Rainie, the director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, which studies the Web’s impact on society. “They literally say, enough is enough . . . and my mind is going to blow up and I can’t take it anymore.”

Wow. Enough is enough. Sweet.

I’ve always considered Twitter to be an incredible time suck. So I’ve taken TweetDeck off the computer screen and freed the Tweets. Life is good. I’ll still check in occasionally, but not much.

And when I was in Europe I learned how swamped I was becoming with e-mails — some important and work-related, most the equivalent of junk snail mail. I was getting around 100 e-mails a day. But get this. Not one phone call in five weeks. Woot.

So I came back determined to eliminate all the unnecessary e-mails. Hitting that button that allows you to get off an e-mail list provides an exhilarating experience, much like the endorphin rush I used to get while running. Try it. You’ll like it. And you’ll be amazed at how it cuts down on your junk e-mails. I haven’t flown on Delta in years but was getting regular account updates and promotional offers. Enough is enough.

And then I noticed that the worst offenders were the political e-mails. I contributed a very modest amount in 2008 to the Obama campaign and ever since I’ve been deluged with e-mails encouraging me to attend rallies, go door-to-door to support health care reform (nah, too tired), vote for various candidates, and of course give more money.

I’ve had nice notes from Barack and Michelle, from the Ohio secretary of state, from campaign directors and various candidates.

Here’s from Michelle:

Rob —

None of us can sit this election out.

Not when we’re just beginning to see the results of the change we’ve all been working for, and when there’s still so much left to do.

That’s why this election is so important, and that’s why we can’t let complacency overtake us in these last few weeks.

I have two things to ask of you.

First, Barack and I need you to commit to vote this fall.

Uh, let’s see. Yeah there it is: unsubscribe.

OK. Enough is enough. I’m deleting those e-mails and getting off the lists as quickly as I can.  And in fairness, at least Barack and Michelle know my first name is Rob. The Ohio Republican Party believes it is Jewell. Go figure.

But even eliminating these e-mails may not provide an escape. Last night during Happy Hour, in the midst of my second double Jameson, I received a call from the Ohio Democratic Party. Whoever invented Caller ID deserves the Congressional Medal of Honor. IMO

And with still two weeks go to before the election, if that happens again, I’m contributing to the campaign of Christine O’Donnell with the stipulaton that she puts a curse on the lot of them.

Just sayin’.

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