Anton McConville
Digital Designer & Developer
Digital Minimalism

I am ( at least I was ) hoping for a calmer year in 2022. Last week I read the book ‘Digital Minimalism’ which made me stop to think about my digital habits.

The book suggests taking a 30 day digital detox - uninstall apps that reduce your productivity, and instead use any time saved by tapping into the more analogue/organic activities that bring joy.

Then, after the 30 days of detoxing, reintroduce technology/apps again, but with the benefit of a 30 day experiment without it, to evaluate how you want to use it in the future.

Why do I want to do this?

  • My physical world is already pretty minimal
  • I am unhappy with the time I’m spending on Twittter and Instagram
  • Twitter content itself leaves me feeling blue
  • I used to be a lot more creative/productive than I am, and want to rekindle

The trucker protest

One more reason to try a digital detox presented itself to me this weekend.

As I write this post, there is ( what began as ) a trucker protest in Ottawa. I live right in the heart of the city, and the noise is extreme, with horns honking. I need it to be quiet to work. Thankfully I have noise cancelling earbuds, which were a blessing this weekend.

If you were to ask me what the goal of this protest is, I wouldn’t be able to tell you - despite the fact it is on my doorstep. It seems a catch all, for a set of people who feel they are taking over the city, and granting us ‘freedom’.

I’ve kinda celebrated my freedom in Ottawa every day, by running by the river and parliament, walking along the streets and market for groceries, sitting on patios, taking in the musuems and the arts centre. I love it here. I don’t need random truck driving, disrespectful, noisy, oppressive people to set me free. Freedom, and peace are what I chose to live here for.

My Twitter stream is full of opinion, snapshot, counter opinion on all of this. I am no expert on the pandemic, or on government. I feel let down by my local leaders in what they’ve allowed to happen here in Ottawa this weekend. I am fed up with the polarity, and lack of care for topics that I think really would improve freedom here in Canada for many communities.

When I first joined Twitter 13 years ago, it was inspiring. I followed developers and designers, and learned something practically every time I read it. It was free of adverts. I was blown away by it, and a fan of the founders. If I could have made it happen, I’d have loved to have worked for Twitter, I was so inspired by it.

Today it feels full of opinions most of them extreme about one thing or another. It isn’t helping me live my best life. The digital minimalism book asks you not to form any preconceived ideas about how you’ll use digital media after 30 days - I’m trying not to. If I can figure out a way to have back the Twitter that once inspired me, maybe I will reinstall it.

My approach

I already don’t have Facebook or TikTok installed on my phone, so that’s a good start. Here are the apps that I’m uninstalling:

  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn

Here are the apps that I’m keeping, but dialling down the time limit on:

  • Guardian
  • BBC Sport

And here’s what I hope to do with my time:

  • read more
  • blog more
  • record myself playing guitar
  • learn GoLang by working on a project
  • double down on exercise

So much media

I came across this article the other day about the number of original scripted TV shows in 2020. 559 shows. There seem endless channels, and shows these days. I’ve really cut back on what I’ve been watching recently, and want to choose carefully from now on.


My digital detox begins tomorrow. Feb 1.

I recognize that I am wasting time looking at Instagram, and Twitter these days and want to put my time to better use. This is an experiment to see what happens.

I might still log into Twitter desktop now and then to tweet a blog post - I’ll see - I have some half written posts about interviewing, and about some lyric studies. I have a list of things to blog about this year.

I’m worried that I’ll miss the social media browsing - but it’s time to stop for a while. I’ll see.