Off The Grid

social media,
Back in June of 2012, Phil Szomszor of The Red Rocket went "cold twerky" for a week.  As I gasped with horror at the mere thought of living for a few days without Twitter, Phil explained that he wasn't completely disappearing from social media, but he was going to invest that time into building his Google Plus presence.  Albeit slightly dated now (yes, even after only eight months) you can read the results of his experiment here.

I would describe myself as a social media juggler, as mentioned in Phil's post; I manage the three main platforms (Twitter, Google Plus, Facebook) very well and my preference swings from one to the other depending on my mood.  So when I heard Joanne Mallon was throwing down a 'no tech' gauntlet I decided to sit on the sidelines and watch (oxymoron intended).  Here is Joanne's account of the day:


geekalicious, guest post, Three years ago most of us didn't have smartphones – now they’re as precious as members of the family, and we keep them safe like prized jewels. 
After my daughter challenged me to a day without technology, my response was to clutch my iPhone to my bosom and hiss You will prize this from my cold dead hands.  But then I thought about it, and the fact that children are often criticised for spending too much time in front of a screen when really it’s we adults who can’t face time unplugged.
So I did it, a day without technology. And when I was writing about my day on my blog (as one must) I asked if any other bloggers wanted to try it too. And that’s where it really started to get interesting because for every one person who was prepared to spend a day off grid, there were several more who said they couldn't even live tech free for an hour. And to my mind, they’re the ones who need to try it the most 
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a technology fan. I’m part of the generation who has benefited from technological advances in so many areas of life. And it's all so easy now - these days you don’t have to know how stuff works to be able to make it work for you. Thanks to technology I can work very flexibly from home around my family. I can take great pics and share them with far-flung relatives. I can make great friends whom I've never actually met. So yes, tech is good. But not so good that we can’t benefit from stepping back from it occasionally. 
For me, the down side of tech toys is that they enable you to be physically present but mentally somewhere else. So you can be in the room with your children or spouse but your attention is anywhere but with them. That’s what technology can take away – the ability to be fully present in the moment and not composing a tweet about that moment in your head. Life is not just one big Instagram opportunity.

Another blogger who took up Joanne's challenge for the day was Lynn Schreiber.  Almost as much of a Twitter addict as me, I was interested to hear how Lynn would cope without her beloved i-Products and you can read about her day without technology here.  But what is most interesting is the continuation of 'low-tech' that she has implemented since the experiment.  Here's what Lynn has to say:


geekalicious, guest post,
When Joanne asked me to go offline for a day my initial response was 'OMG woman, are you out of your mind?' but after some consideration, I decided to try it out.  I wasn't sure that I could do it, so deliberately ran down my iPhone battery so that I wasn't tempted to cheat.
I blogged the day after the experiment about how it felt and now, a couple of weeks further down the line I can report on the long term changes I have put into place. 
Before my day without tech, I would sit until midnight on the computer, then take my iPhone or iPad to bed and sometimes faff around on the internet for another hour or so.  Now I generally go to bed earlier and often put the gadgets aside to read a book (although I often do that on my Kindle so not quite tech-free).  If I do continue to surf, I tend to log out much earlier than previously. 
I have cut down on my forum posting and general browsing and am working hard on various projects, some ofwhich should actually enable me to make money.  I would say that I am using the computer slightly less and I am using it for more 'worthy' activities rather than watching cat videos and arguing with strangers. 
My Twitter addiction won't be that easy to kick though, so don't ask that of me again.  The hardest part of the day was not being able to tell everyone how well I was doing on my Day Without Tech.

Even though it is only three years since the first iPad was introduced, I have been using forums and taking part in online activity for the best part of thirteen years now.  Digital engagement has become a huge part of my life and is very much a way of life in some respects.  I appreciate that we need to step away from the screen occasionally and stop living our lives through phone cameras, reporting back every single moment of our lives, but would removing it completely and going 'off grid' be productive?

Could you go without technology for any length of time? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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