My name is danah boyd and I'm a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research and the founder/president of Data & Society. Buzzwords in my world include: privacy, context, youth culture, social media, big data. I use this blog to express random thoughts about whatever I'm thinking.

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NOTICE: Email sabbatical will start December 15

It’s that time of the year again. If you don’t know me, you probably don’t know that I work obscene hours for most of the year and then take a proper vacation during the winter months. As in no internet, no work, no geeking out on research. For me to continue doing the work that I do, I have to refresh. In order to refresh, I go offline. No email, no Twitter, no blogging. And only pre-downloaded Wikipedia-ing (because how can you tour foreign countries without wanting to know weird information about the universe?).

Over the years, I have learned that vacation isn’t vacation if you come home to thousands of pending emails. Cuz then you spend most of vacation worrying about the work that’s piling up. So, over seven years ago, I started instituting “email sabbaticals” in my life. While I’m away, my lovely procmail file (aka “filtering software”) will direct all of my email to /dev/null (aka “the permanent trash”). I will not be reachable. The only person that I stay in contact with while I’m gone is my mother because it’s just too cruel to my mom to disappear entirely. Twitter and my blog will also loudly proclaim my MIA-ness. But the bigger issue is that I will return to a zero-inbox. Nothing sent to me during my email sabbatical will survive. All senders will receive a lovely bounce message saying that their message will never get through. In this way, no one can put things in my to-do queue while I’m trying to take a break. I need to recharge and there’s no way to recharge when the pile-up grows ever unmanageable.

From December 15-January 10, you will not be able to reach me. So, if you need something from me, holler now. Or wait until I come back. But please recognize that I need a break.

To learn more about my crazy process, see: How to Take an Email Sabbatical

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6 comments to NOTICE: Email sabbatical will start December 15

  • Steven Klass

    Danah,

    Its hard to believe that I’ve been reading and following along for at least one year possibly two.. I love your insight and writings, and am jealous when I see this annual post. Have a well deserved vacation!

  • I am living for the day when I can take a real vacation with no email… sometime after the dissertation is done?

    For now, I live vicariously through you…

    ENJOY your break… and may very few people try to add to your to do list between now and then!

  • I think this is a brilliant idea. Enjoy your break.

  • Hollie Mendenhall

    Enjoy your time off! I have some … fun pictures of the past to tag you in soon! 🙂

  • Bill

    Dear danah,
    Thank you for your dedication to our youth. Enjoy your well deserved time off.

  • XScroll1

    A truly ingenious way of dealing with this new modern and high – powered life! A gnarly rhizome.

    Ie. Tons o’ dynamics flying at one like a big surf wave…and thereby requiring the sound stress management thereof.

    This is a template and avatar for future modes of sociality!

    Carry On!