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Day Of Unplugging

March 23, 2012 by staff 

Day Of Unplugging, As someone who’s trundled both cell phone and laptop to baseball stadiums during spring training, I’m in the latter group. We’re the kind of people who think our mobile devices give us carte blanche to time-shift, stay productive, and be responsive to clients, customers, and colleagues no matter where our adventures take us.

Not everybody thinks that way, of course. Consider the folks at the Sabbath Manifesto, who are once again this year applying the principles of the Sabbath. Emulating the Lord resting on the seventh day, all work is supposed to cease (“cease” being the translation of the Hebrew root of Sabbath, Shabbat).

The 2012 National Day of Unplugging starts at sundown today and ends at sundown on Saturday.  Their goal is to get the rest of us to — paraphrasing Timothy Leary here — turn off, tune out, and drop off. That is, stop using our cell phones, smartphones, laptops, tablets, PCs, iPods, et cetera, and come back from the virtual world into the physical world where our spouses, children, partners, and pets actually live. For 24 hours, at least, we’re supposed to ignore our compulsions to check e-mail, update Facebook, and generally make our colleagues know we’re still available if they need us.

During an experiment last year when scientists asked college students to avoid technology for 24 hours, the subjects reported similar effects to trying to quit smoking, “including feeling fidgety, anxious and isolated, and even reaching out for their mobile phone, while knowing it was no longer there.”

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