Break helps tweety birds to go cold turkey
Welcome to your newest holiday fad - the digital detox.
Close behind a recent academic study suggesting social media is harder to resist than cigarettes and alcohol, US travel destinations are marketing digital detox holiday packages. They promise respite from the devices which have beeped, pinged, tingled, trilled and tweeted their way into the digerati's every waking moment.
Not that you need to go on holiday to log off. The Twitter microblog site is increasingly peppered with detox notices, the digital equivalent of a ''gone fishin'' sign. Swedish web designer Jens Wedin posted a simple one this week: ''DIGITAL DETOX: See you in September''.
Kate Toon, a copywriter and digital consultant who works from the central coast, is a self-described "digital junkie".
"If I'm not 'facebooking', I'm 'tweeting'. I Google myself almost daily. I join at least three new social network or directories a week. You know all those links that people post? I read them. All of them. And then I comment'', she confessed in a blog.
Part of her excuse is professional: because she is paid to write copy for websites and to manage such sites for clients, she runs about 10 different Facebook and Twitter accounts. Her digital habit has been much more difficult to manage since she got an iPhone: "You are pretty much always in there in some way or another".
Not just social media but the internet plays ''a huge role in my life and my family's life'', says Ms Toon, from sharing photos to grocery shopping. Her attempt at a week of digital detox was "a bit of an abject failure".
Ms Toon now tries to be '"more realistic" about social media use. Instead of detoxing she tries to "turn everything off by 7pm" and take a "clear" day during the week.
The US has had a "National Day of Unplugging" (with ''roots in the Jewish tradition'' of the Sabbath, according to its website) plus a Digital Detox Week.
Caribbean island destination St Vincent and the Grenadines will ask guests on the detox package to hand over their mobiles and gadgets.