One day a week, it’s good to disconnect from the digital space. As humans, we are not designed to be connected to all things at all times, rather they were designed to be connected to us. How many people have ever experienced the strange sense of “somethings missing” when we lose or misplace our phone? It’s no coincidence that the big tech companies have made a fortune off of directing your attention towards the things that profit them, but we are under the illusion that we are in control. Most of us have a way of telling ourselves that these systems work to our advantage (and they do), but we are not aware of just how addictive they can be. Imagine the teenage girl who is constantly checking their their messages to get the attention and affirmation they crave. We laugh, but that is very much the kind of addiction cycle that is working on all of us to some extent or other.
Of course, there are those people who feel like they are in complete control, and that everything I say does not apply to them. They may be right, but I do want to counter with the fact that Mark Zuckerburg’s company probably knows more about who they are…. then their psychologist. Think about that. They know where you go, what you’ve done, who you talk to, how you talk to them…. ect. Even the Luddites among us have profiles constructed to fill in the gaps left by the users who are using these platforms. Even knowing that, most people still don’t care and to some extent I agree. Most of us have nothing to hide, so why worry about it?
In a word, it’s about control. If you have ever wondered why our society has shifted so rapidly in the last 5-10 years, we should probably start with this new, exciting connectivity never before seen. By some metrics, we have progressed in ways that have made everything measurably better. With that progress however, we have to understand that we have a class of unelected billionaires forcing themselves into the public forum, and before we brand them as evil, lets understand that given the circumstances, most humans would react the same way.
So, what is to be done? We, the people, need to take back control of this space, and the best way to do that, is reinvest ourselves in the networks that have traditionally made societies flourish. The dinner table, the neighbor’s fence, or even a car window… wherever you find people willing to talk you face to face, you can create these connections with people that will allow you able to take back a piece of your humanity. For myself, I find that it’s easier to do these when I unplug for at least one day a week.