Turn off and chill out. That could be the slogan of a growing movement to temporarily forget about technological progress and move backward, centered around a new holiday. From sunset Friday, March 1 to sunset Saturday, March 2, hordes of wired Americans will voluntarily disconnect themselves as part of the National Day of Unplugging.
This is the fourth year in which observers will detach themselves from the virtual tethers that keep us plugged in -- email, IMs, texts, the Web, and whatever else you consider to be tugging at your attention all day like an annoying dog.
The organization behind this march-backward-to-serenity effort is the national non-profit organization Reboot, and its inspiration is that most untechnological of publications -- The Old Testament. The group said the day is an offshoot of its 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."
Based in New York and founded in 2002, Reboot is a Jewish organization focused on engaging what its Web site calls "young cultural creative, innovators and thought-leaders" to generate projects that impact the world.
Last year for the National Day of Unplugging, the group ironically released a mobile app to help observers move away from apps and other technology. Called the Sabbath Manifesto app, it allowed users to send an automatic message through Twitter or Facebook to notify friends that they've checked out, technologically speaking. It also allowed the user to sign up for text messages that remind him or her to disregard text messages, among other tech, for a day.
A spokesperson for Reboot, Tanya Shevitz, recognized last year the irony of an app to schedule a no-app respite. "We fully get the irony," she told the New York Times. "But really, what better way to tell your followers that you won't be tweeting on the weekend?"
The organization has also been known to hand out small bags with the Sabbath Manifesto logo, saying they were "sleeping bags" so that smartphones could get a day's nap.
Reboot has said that millions of Americans have taken up the call in previous years, and adds that the day is not intended as an anti-technology statement. Instead, Shevitz has told news media, the National Day is a way to recapture the "real interconnections between people" and to take a break from the "relentless deluge of information." (continued...)
Posted: 2013-03-01 @ 10:51am PT
Excellent idea for the kids who can't take their eyes and fingers off their phones for a minute!!! Of course, I'm sure the same is true for many adults.
Posted: 2013-03-01 @ 10:48am PT
I can't say that I'll disconnect completely, but I think it's a great idea to take a little break. I'm so used to checking email constantly and reading news online to stay up-to-speed for work, that it's hard to disconnect entirely for a whole day. But to those who can... more power to you!