It’s OK to disconnect

I am somewhat of an anomaly as an instructional technologist.

Meaning, technology and I– we have a love/hate relationship. You know, it’s complicated. It’s not you technology, it’s me.

It is my job to stay on top of “current and emerging” technologies. Try new things, test new things, create new things. Have the research and case studies handy to back up its effectiveness in education.  And ultimately coax and encourage  adoption of these “things” by the faculty and staff.  What goes on in the digital world is nothing short of a 1000 miracles.  I should know, I spend 8 hours a day living in it. I freakin’ love it.

It’s FASCINATING,  the speed of digital evolution. The effect it has on our lives [and if you're really feeling philosophical, human evolution].

BUT – when I leave work, I pull the plug. I disconnect from the digital world.  There is no smart phone in my possession, I do not touch a computer outside of work. And guess what??? I am still alive and [gasp] have a healthy social life.  There have been times (no joke) when I go all weekend without  using a phone.  What do I do? I hang out with human beings, garden, swim, bike, run, read books. It’s GLORIOUS.

The Trend

A single mother and her three teenagers took digital technology rebellion to a higher level and went 6 months without electronic media .  She lived to tell the tale in The Winter of Our Disconnect. Read it.

Ivan Cash started a project Snail Mail my Email on July 15th in which you type a message to a friend, lover, family member via email and volunteers hand-write it then send it via snail mail free of charge.  True, its not yourhandwriting, but the recipient will be overjoyed to find a good ole’ fashioned letter in their mailbox. Update: There has been such an overwhelming response they have pulled the site to restructure and  meet the needs of the project.

Other projects have popped up globally like the recent National Day of Unplugging by Sabbath Manifesto or the free application, Freedom, that forces your computer to go offline for up to 8 hours at a time. There are even apps to prevent you from texting while driving.

It’s natural that a world becoming so increasingly “connected” would eventually see a trend to disconnect.  No need to go to extremes, it just takes a little practice in the lost art of self discipline.

Take it from a girl who unplugs regularly.  It’s refreshing.

thanks John M. for the picture pose