Sunday, December 2, 2012

ThinkKit Day 2: Unplugging

It's like getting your next challenge on a reality TV show.  Today's challenge that's been virtually slipped under my door:

Unplug for an hour, a half day, or a whole day. Choose a time that feels a little uncomfortable. How did you feel? What did you do? Reflect on your experience. How much did you unplug this year? How does this experience make you feel about unplugging in the coming year?

Oh ThinkKit, you're looking to earn your "painful irony" merit badge so soon?  

How does this make me feel?
I'm likely some weird hybrid of tech savvy neo-traditionalist.  So, I feel these sorts of exercises are important to reflect on whether I've struck the appropriate balance between my real and digital self.

As I read the challenge on my smart phone, I felt that initial lurch against the tide. I was contemplating it, surrounded by my laptop, ipad, and smart phone and the Facebooking, tweeting, foursquaring, and blogging it brings to my fingertips.  There's no doubt that I'm in.  I'm saturated and I will continue to embrace social media.  But as I think about unplugging I recall that I wasn't like this before social media, despite being an early tech adopter and and IT worker.  Social media has really changed my Internet self by emphasizing the constant instantaneous messaging.  There's a demand for being plugged in all of the time and therefore this idea of unplugging is a very valid internal and social conversation. 

Unplugging in 2012
I am aware of this idea of over saturation.  I've taken the occasional Facebook hiatus, which I highly recommend.  Years ago, our house turned off the cable to our house and as a result, I do think we're better off.  Yes, we still watch a lot of Netflix and DVDs.  However, we have one less media stream competing for attention in our house.  Despite the saturation of the constant Internet connectivity, we realized the passive TV is (or was) still more influential in our house.  It seemed to yell the loudest amongst its media/information stream competitors. If nothing else, it tended to be the most constant.  So, we made the choice to turn it off and continued to do so in 2012.           

I think there's a lot of value in social media.  Though I also think that social media creates a lot noise in my life.  Sometimes I care too much about what I see streaming to me.  I can't tell you how many tweets, FB posts, and the like that I've typed up and then cancelled.  Sometimes, I fear I don't step away enough and contemplate the analog world - er, I mean reality.   

The year ahead
Next year, we'll continue to keep the cable off.  I'll look to continue to find that balance of Facebook usage.  I'll probably continue my heavy blogging (hopefully), Twitter, Instagram, and Foursquare use.  I'll also look to make this ThinkKit challenge a frequent exercise so I can occasionally step out of the digital stream and reflect on my digital self.  The Internet won't miss me that much.

1 comment:

  1. I'm on FB way, way too much. We don't have cable anymore and I rarely miss it (I miss the Oscars but that's about it). We do have unplugged days, usually when I think that the kids are getting too "sucked in" to all the electronics, but on those days I seem to miss the screen time much more than they do. All in all, I think Unplugged is a nice land to visit but I wouldn't want to live there.