Personal Online Code of Conduct
In my last post I mentioned that I was currently drafting a new Personal Online Code of Conduct. My goal is to move away from the need to be constantly connected and also to make sure the time I am connected is time well spent creating value, not just consuming and adding to the online noise.
Here is my first draft, I’m sure this will evolve over time as things change, but hopefully the core purpose will remain intact. I’m sharing this publicly for additional accountability. If you catch me not adhering to this, please feel free to call me out.
Increasing My Attention Span
Recently I’ve noticed a disturbing trend in my interactions online. If I came across a bit of content that seemed interesting I would immediately scroll down to see how long it was, if it seemed too long, I often wouldn’t read it. It scares me that I don’t have the attention span to read through good content just because of it’s length. I seem to have grown accustomed to receiving my content in bite size portions or through video, that I no longer have the patience for lengthy content. I resolve to read content based on the value regardless of its length. I also resolve to stop watching frivolous videos (some exceptions being keynotes, lectures or sermons).
Digesting Content, Not Just Consuming
I spend too much time reading really interesting content online. Most of which is worthwhile. But just as I don’t eat just to eat, but rather to stay alive and nourish my body through the digesting of that food. I believe I should be digesting that content not just consuming it. I resolve to respond to each piece of content I consume. To digest it and make it meaningful to me. This means responding to it as if I were to post a comment or write my own blog post on the subject. I will not be posting all my responses, but at least I’ve spent the time to understand and digest the content.
Creating Lasting Content
Although a Tweet can be valuable, it can’t last. Just by the nature of Twitter things you post are very transient. I believe that is only adding to the noise, by not creating lasting value. I am going to shift my focus to more lasting mediums, such as blog posts or discussions in comments, etc.
There is something to be said for spreading good information I’ve found online. But too often I just spew the new found content, unfocused, into the void. I believe sharing that information should be targeted and purposeful. I should have someone in mind when I share a link and not just put it out there and hope someone finds value in it.
Removing Intrusive Distractions
I typically have a Twitter client open at all times, and another one on my phone so I’m constantly connected and receiving messages from Twitter. I also have constant access to email, the alerts constantly vying for my attention. I believe this is counter-productive and that I should determine when I will engage with that content and not let it determine that for me. I resolve to remove those intrusive distractions and instead be purposeful in determining when I will respond to them.
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I’ve been dealing with the same thing. In the past year I have turned all buzzing and ringing off on my blackberry beside from my wife and my boss. Turned all email notification off (mainly toast popups) and try to set times during the day to check email. Normally something like one hour into my day, somewhere mid morning, then mid afternoon, and once before I stop working for the day. One other trick that I have been doing is a “Top of Mind” list that I create once a week that I carry with me. Having a piece of paper is a good way to stay away from the time traps of email and the internet (ei I just want to check my calendar or add any item to my online task list and I some how end up writing an email to something that is not extremely important or view the newest post on Gizmodo). Well back to the “Top of Mind”, its two pages one page with key projects, task and to-do’s with plenty room for writing in notes during the week. The second page is a blank weekly calendar with my business hours on it. At the start of each week I retype a new Top of Mind and then hand write times that I will complete the task from the first page on the calendar. Rarely do I stick to the calendar completely but if I’m 50% on target is way better than anything I was doing in the past. The other benefit to this is it’s a good way to track progress. Every couple months I will go back and review some on my old Top of Minds and its also good with updating resumes and doing self appraisals. Hope some of those ideas help and I really enjoyed this post. Thanks!
It is hard to get away from – but once you stay firm and actually follow through with this – life will be a lot less hectic for sure! Good luck!!