Hitting The “off” Button
Prompted by the article The Joy Of Quiet, I’m becoming increasingly immersed in the idea of privatization, the quieter side of our ‘out in public’ existence. I wrote about the emergence of the more sensitive (and sensible) social networking app called Path in a previous post, which has become my most favorite app since I shut down my Facebook account…
(Yes… I de-activated my Facebook account and deleted the app (and the even more annoying Facebook Messenger app) from my iPhone. It’s the equivalent of online suicide! I was about to delete Instagram too, but I love my retro filters too much!)
Alongside the obvious benefits besides giving yourself virtual and real space to think, away from every update / Tweet / breaking news item / weather report, there is a deeper and more intrinsic yearning that we all have to just be on our own with our own thoughts. What is fascinating is the culture that has grown up around this in recent years… It used to be ‘in’ thing to be in the know, but now it seems like being out of it has never been more desirable.
Taking a holiday for the internet is one way to shut off, and the term “Internet Sabbath” has been coined, plugged as “A day to respect the arts of human communication and concentration.” An idea which seems natural and logical but which scarcely gets a look in these days where we’re all face down in our i-gadgets on the train to work.
Naturally there is a profit to be turned from getting people to turn off, and it’s been done in a surprisingly articulate manner by the team at Freedom. Freedom is an app that you can buy for $10 which allows you up 8 hours of blissful internet-free time – it literally turns off your internet connection, and should you decide that you cannot go without that Tweet before your allotted time is up, you’ll need to reboot your computer system to get back online again. It’s like a really expensive off button.
It feels like there is a lot to be said for keeping to oneself and getting more in touch with your own thoughts and observations without rushing to post, update and get that all important “like” / click validation: recently TED talks posted up a video about the Power of Introverts and Daily Good following up with an article about it too. The slow movement (remember Slow Food?) now includes Slow Media as one branch of the Slow philosophy – advocating for the more careful consumption and decimation of media.
While we can’t think for a minute that this is a global manifesto, the speed and volume of the backlash against the predominant let ‘it all hang out’ attitude does make one wonder: just how far we have gone from being conscious of the self, to being self conscious in the face of millions of others?
And by the way, instead of paying $10 for Freedom (the irony is hilarious) start by turning your phone onto flight mode every now and again… try it when you go to sleep. When you wake up you’ll still receive all your updates. Promise.