John Mayer Wants You To Defragment Your Brain With A Digital Cleanse

Anyone who follows John Mayer on Twitter knows that he’s a smart guy. A bit kooky at times, sure. But he’s definitely not just shooting his mouth off with self-promotional drivel. He’s built up quite a following on the service too, with over 2.8 million Twitter followers. So when he invites all of his fans to give up Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks for a week, you know there are a lot of people paying attention.

Tonight, Mayer has announced a One Week Digital Cleanse. The purpose? To ring in the new year with a slightly less chaotic mental state. In his post announcing the Cleanse, Mayer likens our increasingly scattered lifestyles to fragmented hard drives. It’s an apt comparison — between sites like Twitter, Facebook, and multiple Email boxes, most of us have data and friendships scattered across a dozen different places. Mayer thinks giving some of these up for a while might be a good way to “defragment” our minds. He’s not quitting these services the way Trent Reznor and Miley Cyrus did, he’s just taking a week long break, and he wants his fans to join him.

Unlike some similar campaigns I’ve heard of, which asked you to quit just about everything with a digital display, Mayer’s drive is probably doable for a lot of people. It doesn’t ask you to give up Email, and you can still use your cell phone for some things. Here are the guidelines :

Begins on January 1 at 9AM and runs until January 8 at 9AM
*email only from laptop or desktop computers
*cell phones can only be used to make calls, and no text messages or e-mails are allowed – if you receive a text, you must reply in voice over the phone. E-mails must be returned from a laptop or desktop computer.
*no use of Twitter or any other social networking site – this includes reading as well as posting.
*no visiting of any entertainment or gossip sites. (No need to detail which ones – you know what they are.)

Work commitments keep me from engaging in the Cleanse myself, but you may want to give it a try, if only for a day or two. If nothing else, consider just how attached you’ve become to these online services. Last June, when I took a weeklong vacation to the Caribbean, I found myself suffering some pretty serious withdrawals when I couldn’t compulsively check my Email or the latest tech news. It took about two full days of perfect weather and endless beaches to kick the sense of impending doom. That’s a little weird. Technology is amazing, but getting some perspective is a good thing.