"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once and while, you could miss it."
-- Ferris Bueller, Ferris Bueller's Day Off
So yesterday I decided to go "Off the Grid," or "OTG," as I called it on Twitter. I got the idea from Vicki Davis' blog post in which she stated that, due to a vacation, she would be 'off the grid' for a while. After reading her post, I began to reflect on my use (overuse?) of technology and how it affects my social life and my relationships. Then, a few days later, I read Beth Still's post about the same topic (both blog posts have great conversation in the comment area, by the way). I realized that this was something that people are really starting to think about and become concerned about.
I decided to do an experiment: 1 day, no Twitter & no blogging. I could check my email, but only respond to those that required immediate replies.
Oh man was it hard.
Every time I looked at my iPhone, TweetDeck glared up at me. "What conversations am I missing right now?" "I wonder if anyone posted anything good today." The thoughts ran and ran. It was like having half a donut sitting in front of you and not being allowed to eat it.
Somehow, though, I made it through. I came home and I didn't open either of my laptops. I went out with my boyfriend to the local bar we hang out at and had a couple of drinks with some friends. Then I came home and did some lesson planning. What was really hard was using the computer without opening up TweetDeck and trying to ignore my Google Desktop Gmail Gadget that scrolls new emails right on my desktop. (Even as I write this I just checked an email on the second laptop open to my right.)
The next day (today) I checked in to find I had a retweet and a Direct Message, but I easily responded to both. Unfortunately, the DM was about a live session I had missed discussing Math Web 2.0 tools with Maria Droujkova, who has started a #mathchat discussion on Twitter. However, her DM started with "In case you are back on the grid...," which made me smile. It worked. By simply stating that I would be 'OTG' that day, people understood my absence in any discussions and I felt better about the experience.
Of course, today it is now almost 3 hours that I've been on the computer. I participated in 2 live Elluminate sessions (one on a new book, Liberating Learning and the other led by Di Bedard about protecting your Digital Identity) and now I'm completing a blog entry about the whole experience.
Sooooo....I'm working on a plan:
There are 6 days in the week (Sunday is a good day to be OTG!)
Except for the OTG day, time on the computer is limited to 2 hours/day.
1 day: Work on my blog
1 day: Attend an Elluminate or other live session
2 days: Look around and 'play around' on Twitter (one hour each day max!)
1 day: Be OTG!!!!! Send out a tweet in the morning letting people know I'll be OTG.
Hopefully I will be able to stick to this plan and feel like I am slowly weaning myself off of the screen. Or at least practicing some self control and tuning into my face to face relationships.
I'll keep you posted (no pun intended).
Click here for a previous post on how technology affects our personal, face-to-face relationships.
photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons