No-Screen Summer?

Of all the cool things you can do with smart device technology, maybe the coolest thing you can do with it is turn it off.
Of all the cool things you can do with smart device technology, maybe the coolest thing you can do with it is turn it off.

Last night in class, one of my students gave me a couple of pearls of wisdom that might have the potential to improve my web presence.

  1. Use Twitter only for very local stuff. I have to admit that I try Twitter intermittently, and find myself unengaged. I don’t care about politics or opinions on Twitter, or the short-message paradigm. The idea my student gave me was to only follow entities like the City of Ada, Byng Schools, Pontotoc County Emergency Management, and so on.
  2. Spend the summer with fewer screens, including deactivating your social media accounts like Facebook. This one isn’t an option for me since my work requires me to use Facebook, and since I have cultivated Facebook as my home for feeding my audience content from this web site, but it’s a compelling idea for a family. Imagine walking the dog instead of playing with a dog-walking app!

It may be a conceit, but I believe I am capable of nurturing my craft and my intellect using screens – computers, tablets, phones, even the television – and I arrogantly look down on those I feel let themselves be led by the nose ring of technology. Maybe I’m fooling myself, and am just another fidget spinner spinner.

I think it is inherently unfair to create something fun and engaging, only to have it be crassly commercialized the way the Pet Rock was.
I think it is inherently unfair to create something fun and engaging, only to have it be crassly commercialized the way the Pet Rock was.
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4 Comments

  1. Nice!

    I still don’t have a smartphone (of my own; not counting work-issued devices), and I sometimes find myself wishing I had one for personal use. But I like to think I’d never use it the way I see other people using them — holding it six inches in front of my face and talking loudly to it, texting during movies (at least sit the back row, asshole), watching its screen while driving — I see people do this EVERY DAY, and my commute is short.

    Unfortunately, I don’t have the survival skills to live entirely without technology. If some magical spell cast the world back to 10,000 B.C., I’d die within days — of that I have no doubt. Starvation, thirst, getting lost in the forest… Even if a fairy followed me around to give me food and directions, I don’t know how to make clothes, build shelters, start fires, etc. But this always comes to mind when fearful people eschew modern/new technology. “I’m afraid of self-driving cars!” they weep, while sitting in air conditioned homes and eating out of the microwave. “I’m afraid robots will take our jobs!” they whimper, while using all manner of other supposedly job-killing technology like typewriters/computers, elevator buttons, and automated call-connecting systems.

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  2. I know I could easily go without my “screens” — because I did for 20+ years. But I don’t really have a good reason to… It’s how I get my news, stay in touch with friends, pay my bills, etc.

    But I also don’t feel a need to post a selfie every 15 minutes or take photos of every meal or alcoholic beverage I see…

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  3. (I realize my last comment could have come across as judgmental against people who DO do those things. I really don’t care. If you want to take selfies all day long and that’s what toasts your loaf, then go ahead. If Instagramming your every meal is your hobby — you certainly could have chosen worse hobbies. More power to you.)

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