“One day a week, we’d turn off the technology in our lives. We called it our “technology Shabbat.” From sundown on Fridays to sundown on Saturdays, we shut down every cellphone, iPad, TV, and computer in the house. This practice has been profoundly life-changing for us. It resets my soul each week.” ~Tiffany Shlain
I have a love/hate relationship with technology and in particular, social media. Mostly because I became addicted to it. More on that in a moment.
In doing some research for this post, I found out that I have been on Facebook since October 2014. This was a surprise to me because before that, I’d been on Facebook for a year, at most, before tearing it all down. And then, going back because I missed it so much and starting all over again.
Remember, I am a creator/destroyer (first mentioned here, in my first post).
I would create and then destroy pretty-much all my social media, over and over again. Certainly, I did so with blogs, as I have shared with you before.
In the case of message boards, since I couldn’t destroy that site, I’d destroy my persona instead. I’d change my name and/or delete my posts or ask someone I trusted to create a password I would never know, which (of course) meant I couldn’t get in at all. Sometimes, I’d go slink back to the techno-whiz of the site and ask for a new password and get back in. Luckily, I haven’t felt the need to visit any message boards in a long time. They can be helpful … but the very thing that makes them so attractive (being anonymous) can be dangerous for someone like me, for reasons I’ve discussed before, as well.
Anyway, message boards… I’d write my heart out and then disappear.
Why did I do that? Or, better question… why did I do ANY of it? Why did I feel the need to go online and then take myself offline?
I was addicted. I shared too much of myself. I trusted people who were also anonymous. I got hurt. I hurt others. I put myself in situations I should never have been a part of… I was an interloper in other’s lives.
Then, I’d pull back.
Then, I’d go back.
Then, I’d get scared.
I’d see the signs a mile away and keep on going until I was in the thick of things. Again.
I’d pull back.
Then, it would start all over again.
I give myself props because I realized it before most people even connected to the notion that you *could be* addicted to something as intangible as “online”.
Shlain touches on this, as I hoped she would. She talks about the paradox that was so obvious to me back then (as it now is to everyone else): The very thing that once made us feel connected is also the thing that makes us feel left out.
And we haven’t even gotten to what technology has done to face-to-face relationships, which is the catalyst for this book.
I love what she says about the meaning of “screen” being “filter” and how everything is filtered online, whether literally or figuratively. She uses words like “distorted” and “edited” to describe what we see, read and hear. (Pg 96)
I could add… “write” as well. I mean, I am here writing what I want you to read. See what I mean?
And of course, there is (as I mentioned above) the problem of Internet Addiction. <<< I’ve shared a link but I don’t need it. I’ve *lived* it… and then some!
And finally, there is anxiety. I like a quote Shlain shared: “Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom” ~ Søren Kierkegaard.
I’m reminded of a few shopping trips (especially at holiday time) when I ended up so overwhelmed that I left a full cart in the middle of the store and drove home without buying anything.
I’ve done the exact thing internet-ing-ly-speaking (Ha! Not a real word at ALL). Consider this: The internet is the biggest store in the world with the most people all in one place… talk about overwhelming!
This is a HUGE subject, as you can see! Shlain gives it the time and respect it deserves. I would expect nothing less from an Emmy-nominated filmaker and creator of The Webby Awards.
(Slight digression about the Webby’s that I read while researching for this post: Acceptance speeches can only be five (5) words long. For real! And it’s still in practice today. People get very creative, as you might imagine. Neat, eh?)
The answer to this big ol’ mess is what Shlain calls, “Tech Shabbat”. <<< And here, we come to the center of the maze.
Shabbat (/ʃəˈbæt/ or /ʃəˈbɑːt/; Hebrew: שַׁבָּת [ʃa’bat], “rest” or “cessation”), Shabbos ([‘ʃa.bəs], Ashkenazi Hebrew and Yiddish: שבת), or the Sabbath, is Judaism’s day of rest and seventh day of the week. (Thanks, Google!)
It is… in short… Unplugging for one day a week (i.e. 24/6). Easy/peasy. Except, not.
In the book, we are 2/3 of the way through on Part VII, when we get a step-by-step guide on how to do it. Good thing, too! Because this is no simple task.
EVERYTHING and everyone is connected online. Even old ladies like me have ditched the landline and take and receive old-fashioned phone calls on the cell. Same cell where all my social media is… so… just ignore that… yes?
I have a tablet that I use to play games and read stuff, mostly. But my email is connected there, because it’s bigger and easier to read. So, silence the email?
My computer is connected to absolutely everything and everywhere I go online. Most of all, I write my blog posts from it. So, turn it off, then? Put it in a cupboard?
Shlain’s book devotes no less than ten pages to the ins-and-outs of Tech Shabbat, including ideas to keep you busy (count your blessings, get outside, etc) that’s categorized by age. Oh, and there’s an “Over 65” section… so no excuses for older folk. <<< Were naps there? I didn’t see naps.
I’ll tell you… this book made me think. I like that about it.
How much of your time is devoted to online activities? Are you ready for a Tech Sabbat?
I’m thinking about it. There is more to this than you realize, including auto responses and stopping notifications on aaaaallllllll those apps. It’s a big deal.
Worth it? I think it may be! Let me know what you think!