Why I’m Giving Up Technology For A Week...and Tweeting About The Experience Daily.
I'm techausted, so I'm joining the largest ever, week-long movement of people who are giving up technology and sharing their daily journey online! Join #1wknotech Nov 10-16
Image from the #1wknotech Tumblr
I'm tired of my technology. I'm techausted. And I'm not the only one.
In record numbers, people are Tweeting and Redditing and Pinteresting about being overwhelmed by all this media. And here I'm referring to a survey I read and bookmarked using a cloud-based service, but well, I'm just going to let that go. And doesn't that feel wonderful?
And so to try to reclaim my life, I'm giving up technology for the week as part of #1wknotech (http://1wknotech.org) (November 10-16). And by technology, I guess I mean mostly electronic technology, but more specifically networked digital computers -- which includes phones and pads and I think certain parts of my car. In fact, typing this article on a Google Doc in a Chrome Browser on my Wintel machine is one of the last acts I will engage in before I try to quit cold turkey. I can only imagine how much more effectively I will think and write once I am "unplugged" as they say.
Do you remember MTV unplugged, when MTV still showed music videos? This is where I'd typically embed a clip of that show, but again, I'm just about ready to stop YouTube and Netflix and Hulu and Blockbuster SuperSteaming-- so embedding feels like cheating, like eating Gluten-free Pizza when you don't really have a gluten allergy. I don't think it's unhealthy, but it feels a little mean.
Then what will I have? My children and my wife and, well, time.
And Facebook because there's a Facebook support group.
And Instagram because I'll be posting pictures with some filters that I believe make photos a bit more honest, like that one model who decided to pose for the photoshoot without makeup or Photoshop or even a really good SLR. (I think they used a Holga. Again, I'm not looking it up online. No more of that.)
And Tumblr because I want to archive the pictures.
I will need my phone to follow the hashtag and Tweetdeck to help coordinate my Tweets but I'm ONLY using it for those purposes.
Aside from that, I'll be free. Doesn't it feel good to read that? I mean to read it quickly and then shut your eyes and pretend you didn't see it online -- that it was just somehow there in your head like a Vulcan Mind
Melt Meld (thank you Tweeter!).
I'll probably take the opportunity to stop answering emails except for people who want to ask about #1wknotext. Same with phone calls.
If my wife texts me to ask me to pick up something at the store, I'm just going to let it go.
Voicemail. I'll ignore entirely.
I'll probably keep Snapchat just because I don't have any other way of communicating with my daughter other than monitoring her Facebook page and her Ravelry posts.
But I'll give up emails from students which will make teaching MUCH easier. And grading. Because my students turn in papers electronically.
Oh, and Blackboard. And Powerpoint. Prezi, c ya! I also don't think I have a paper copy of my syllabus now that I think of it.
But did Socrates need technology to teach? I mean, just look at his most quoted dialogue. If I'm not mistaken it's in The Phoebe or The Clouds where he teaches about the dangers of technology eating away at our attention -- that even using writing on palimpsests is bad because you just keep writing over everything you've learned already. Nicholas Sparks wrote about that, I believe, in a famous article in Harpers or Vanity Fair -- which of course, reminds me that Dumas' Vanity Fair is all about that, too, I think. (Fact check this in the comments. No more searching for me. Google, get out of my head! I'm not even using an Incognito Window right now.)
What I want is time to read, but I won't use my Kindle. Nope. I'll go look for books and a booklight because it's getting dark earlier. Of course, I won't have GoodReads to recommend anything, so I'll just buy a random book. Not on Amazon. From a book store. Or Target because I remember seeing books there. Or at an airport because that's the one time people finally unplug and leave all that incessant technology to read -- when they're 30,000 feet in the air, cruising altitude. I need to put my brain in airplane mode.
And then I'll buy an alarm clock instead of using my app on my phone -- I'm going to get the wind up kind with the bells -- because I fall asleep so easily when I read any surface that's not illuminated. I've unplugged my electric toothbrush. And thank heavens I don't own an electric car.
Like the poets and professors of old, my beard I shall grow long, and my hair I will not curl. And the rest of the manscaping -- forget it. As they kept saying in all those radio commercials -- I think it was for candidates in the midterm elections -- It can wait!
And since a lot of my money is in Bitcoin, I'll just keep it simple. I've got some change here and there, and my son just lost a tooth, so there's a dollar. But what a beautiful metaphor. You see there's now this time under every pillow in the house, as though the Time Fairy just came and gave me my life back. I don't know about you, but #1wknotech sounds like it will be a godsend -- and I'm not going to let any of these golden moments go forth untweeted.
Teaching Without Tech!
Mark C. Marino teaches writing with and without technology at the University of Southern California.