In a few days I’ll be Internet free; free from Tweets about your lunch, Facebook pictures of your dog, Instagrams of your baby. Free from e-mails about what to bring to pot-lucks and if I’d like you to guest post about your growing business (no). Free from Goodreads and Pinterest, YouTube and Blogs. Free from discount books on Amazon and cats doing cartwheels on Huffington Post. Free.
I might die.
The truth is, I’m scared. Scared I’ll hate it and scared I’ll love it. Scared I’ll forget someone’s birthday or miss engagement news. Scared my inbox might explode.
Remember when my email inbox was at 97%? It got worse. This February, Gmail warned me it was going to shut my sorry butt down if I didn’t delete something. 99% and counting. Oops.
In preparation for May, I’ve spent months shaving down 20,700+ emails to the basics. You know, 19,000 or so.
It’s actually been kind of cathartic. First I went through all emails that had attachments (space hogs) and found all sorts of relics from the past; minutes from old board meetings, dramatic songs sent to friends, love poems, skinny pictures, homework emailed to professors with the subject “sorry it’s late,” and some excuse about ink.
I spent hours rereading those old college papers. They had titles like “Waking a Generation of Women: Kate Chopin’s The Awakening” and “From Neolithic to New York: Technology’s Triumphs and Turmoils in an Ever Changing World.” Flashback: I used to have brains in my head! I was one of those nerds who loved writing papers. Hate me now, but thank me later when I’m proofing your grad school essay.
After I went through all those emails, I did searches for wastes of space like alumni updates and shopping receipts and angsty emails sent to ex boyfriends. Those were a treat. I remember one in particular contained exactly 10 paragraphs describing how and why THIS. IS. OVER. Delete!
I also worked on unsubscribing from things like Josh Ritter’s newsletter, Ticketmaster, Sojourners, and updates from Twitter and Facebook. What was I thinking before? All this undue inbox maintenance was giving me ulcers.
Update: I am proud to report that I’m down to 58%, with only 27 emails in my inbox that need to be taken care of. Victory dance!
1) Print out my Google Calendar and hang it on the fridge like it’s 1990.
2) Make a list of books to check out from the library.
3) Alert my friend in Borneo that if she needs me, she’ll have to send up a smoke cloud.
4) Alert all my other friends and family that I’m not dead.
5) Break the news that I’m not pre-scheduling posts.
I’ve gotten a lot of advice on this Internet silence. Some of you said to stay quiet, others asked for some pre-scheduled posts. A few of you warned that a whole month without posting will lose all my readers. Some went as far as suggesting updates from Baby Daddy. That one made me laugh.
Here’s what I have to say about it: my gut says go big or go home. I can’t wait to tell you all about it in June.
More details about the 2012 Project HERE