Phil Buchanan, president of the Center for Effective Philanthropy

With Central Square in Cambridge as a backdrop, Phil Buchanan conducts business as president of the Center for Effective Philanthropy. Photo: JOSH REYNOLDS FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE
With Central Square in Cambridge as a backdrop, Phil Buchanan conducts business as president of the Center for Effective Philanthropy. Photo: JOSH REYNOLDS FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE

Phil Buchanan is president of the Center for Effective Philanthropy, a Cambridge-based nonprofit that helps philanthropic foundations be smarter in their giving. He also blogs frequently. We asked him to share his digital habits with The Download.

What online service could you not live without?

If I’m not in a meeting and I’m just working in my office, I can’t live without Spotify because I can’t work without music on. If I’m writing, I’ll have jazz or classical music on so the lyrics don’t distract me — definitely no rap while writing! — but other than that I’ll have all different types of music on.

Favorite kind of social media?

I really enjoy Twitter because I find myself reading a lot of stuff I would not otherwise come across. Initially I was following people more in the world of philanthropy, but now I follow a wide range of different publications and people. I also try to get some balance on the political spectrum. I probably end up reading more left-of-center stuff than more conservative perspectives, but I try to guard against that so I don’t just live in a bubble of people spouting the same opinions.

Last app you downloaded?

Amazon Prime Instant Video because I was traveling with my family and sitting in an airport and decided to watch a movie on my phone because everybody else in my family was!

How many unopened e-mails are currently in your inbox?

I have kind of a neurotic thing where I never like to have more than 50 items in my inbox and nothing unopened before I shut down for the day.

How do you unplug?

I’m increasingly setting aside time, like blocks of hours, where I close e-mail and have no alerts for anything — no sounds and no little flag popping up in the corner telling me an e-mail arrived — because I don’t want to be tempted to be constantly looking at it when I’m trying to write something.

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