By Don Rush
Technology is a grand thing. It’s cool. It’s clever, flashy and it is, in fact, addicting.
Truth be told, I am guilty of just leaving that giant, all-consuming social life-sucker Facebook on, on my computer whilst I work here at work. It’s always there, lurking in the background, waiting to update me that one of my “friends” just had an awesome bowl movement (ABM for those not in the know). And, while it is always nice to have an ABM, do I really want to know about it?
As of the penning of this column (and yes, I am first writing this gem of a column long hand, in simple Don Rush cursive, black pen, on a standard ruled, yellow Quill legal pad, with a line crudely cutting the page into two, relatively equal columns) 600 plus Facebook “friends,” over 500 “connections” on Linkedin, about 350 and 104 “followers” on Twitter and Instagram respectively. I reckon you can say I am hooked-up “socially.” I am always on, Baby!
Yet, in this age of hyper-connectivity, I feel over stimulated to the point of having no connections or feelings.
Ever since I fell pray to the mounting pressure of society and my peers to ditch my trusted mobile flip-phone about two years ago, and buy this stupid smart phone, my life has been less my life. I’ve become a slave to technology.
I am constantly in contact with whomever lets their fingers do the walking with calls and/or texts. Family, friends, co-workers, work owners, business associates, bill collectors, telemarketers – seems they all want a piece of me, when they want it and if I don’t pickup or respond pronto-like I’m treated like the southside of a northbound mule – something to be slapped.
SMACKIN’ FRACKIN’ PING!
Between the phone and the computer, something is always chirping – letting me know somebody, somewhere is reaching out and trying to touch me. Goldarnit I wanna’ check out. I need a digital detox!
The last two weekends, I sorta tried it, and I have to tell you, I kinda liked it. I will do it more. Internet (mostly) off. I also turned down the volume on the phone to “vibrate” and placed it somewhere where I was not. If I was in the laundry room, the phone was upstairs. If I was making dinner in the kitchen, the phone was in the living room; I think you get the picture. In the mornings, afternoons and evenings I turned on the internet for a little to check for messages and that was about it. (Except for a little surfing about garden stuff and Chinese cooking.)
I know; I need a deep, deep clean.
Before said cleansing, however, I felt I needed ammo — something to back up my decision to unplug, if you will — so just now I went on-line and found this:
“According to this latest research, people in the U.S. check their Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts a staggering 17 times a day, meaning at least once every waking hour, if not more.”
. . and,
“On any given day, teens in the United States spend about nine hours using media for their enjoyment, according to the report by Common Sense Media . . . Let’s just put nine hours in context for a second. That’s more time than teens typically spend sleeping, and more time than they spend with their parents and teachers. And the nine hours does not include time spent using media at school or for their homework.”
Holy Trapped in The Matrix, Batman!
If I am gonna’ set the example, I better do it and do it good, right? I dug little bit deeper into the lurid land of internet information gathering, and hallelujah, looky what I found: This Friday (March 4) is The National Day of Unplugging!
Who woulda’ thunk it, it’s a Jewish thing, of all things? Thanks be to the Jews!
According to NationalDayOfUnPlugging.com:
“The National Day of Unplugging is a project of Reboot. Reboot affirms the value of Jewish traditions and creates new ways for people to make them their own . . .
“The National Day of Unplugging is a 24 hour period – running from sundown to sundown – and starts on the first Friday in March. The project is an outgrowth of The Sabbath Manifesto, an adaptation of our ancestors’ ritual of carving out one day per week to unwind, unplug, relax, reflect, get outdoors, and connect with loved ones.”
Oh Happy Sabbath Manifesto Day and pass the rugelach. I’m in! Who is with me? Let’s do this!
And, for those not with me, do not expect me to post anything pithy on any social network and I may or may not have my “smart phone” on during my National Day of Unplugging.
Hmm? Maybe this would be a good time to start working on Mindfulness Meditation, too?
Send your thoughts, questions and comments to Don@ShermanPublications.org