What happens when you never unplug?
June 24, 2016 at 12:30 am
There was an article in The New Yorker a while back called “The Pointlessness of Unplugging.” Its basic premise was that technology is here to stay (so get used to it), you’ve met some of your closest homies (and maybe even your boo) online so that “reconnect” line is played out, and you’re gonna plug back in anyway. I feel most of that (I’m not into online dating AT ALL), but I don’t think unplugging is unnecessary, if only to keep us in the habit of knowing how to unplug.
I’m an introvert, but I definitely went outside more before technology and social media became more prevalent — even if I was going to the park by myself to chill with a book. Now when I go to the park with a book, if I even leave the house to do that, I’m surrounded by people with Kindles! I mean, hey, at least they’re reading, but I still prefer the physical book. I found it scary when I read about the nation’s first ever all digital library opening a few years back. All digital everything (especially surrounding information) means that information can be more easily manipulated to fit the agenda of those who control the information.
Ask yourself: How many hours a day do you spend away from gadgets?
Are you ever anywhere without your cell? We’ve all seen memes and heard jokes alluding to boredom before technology came about, but were we really bored? As a child, hoola-hoop, jump rope, bike riding and chalk writing on the sidewalk were my jam, but my nephews prefer a few rounds of 2K on their PS3. As an adult, I still love coffee or tea and in-person conversation with friends, handwritten notes over emails, and actual gifts over gift cards. But a lot of my friends only want to text or hop on G-chat and Skype, and will give me an Amazon gift card with the quickness.
There’s a sense of connectivity lost when we depend so heavily (and sometimes unnecessarily) on technology. To unplug is to pinch yourself when you’re still in that daze between being asleep and awake, your proverbial alarm clock, reminding you to look around you, be aware and be present in the analog part of your existence.
Don’t get me wrong, there are definite benefits to technological advancements. When I first started driving, my cell phone didn’t automatically come with Google Maps. In fact, Yahoo Maps was the more prevalently used system. I had to get the address of my destination, enter it at my laptop, print out the directions and hope someone was riding with me so I didn’t have to try and glance at them while on the road. The updates in GPS are certainly useful when driving to unknown destinations, but if I were ever without it, could I find my way around? Dependency can be a liability, especially with something as fickle as technology.
Anything inanimate can be an enemy as much as a friend.
Overuse of technology has physical and psychological implications. The key to everything is balance. And if the idea of unplugging makes you feel as though your world might implode, you might want to consider trying it. To unplug means that you might have to just remember that beautiful sunset you shared with your friend instead of posting a picture of it on Instagram.
To unplug is to take 15 minutes of your lunch break to walk down to your favorite deli instead of having it delivered to the front desk at your job. To unplug is to pose in the mirror with your best friend, laughing and dancing to your favorite song instead of Snapchatting it. It is to share your latest heartbreak or new crush with your homie over some chai tea in their living room instead of texting for hours about it. I’m not saying that one way is better than another. I’m suggesting that humans are too non-linear to only walk the straight line of technology. Now, stop reading this article, get some fresh air, and call your mama.