As technology advances, it's only natural for people to want to escape from it. We probably all spend a little too much time connected to our gadgets and such, but the trend of "unplugging" is taking things too far. We're supposed to own the iPhones, not the other way around. When people can't see that, there's a problem. It's not the gadgets' issue, it's the people.
A recent Fast Company cover story titled "Unplug: Baratunde Thurston Left The Internet for 25 Days and You Should Too" got the ball rolling. The article described how Thurston had burned out on the Internet and then unplugged, and that restored meaning to his life. It was as absurd as it sounds. Thurston, who wrote the story, found social media the most difficult thing to give up. In a painful paragraph, he explained that Twitter and the like are designed to keep us online.
"The services offer no 'vacation mode," wrote Thurston. "Sure, we can 'deactivate' or 'suspend' some accounts. But those options are well hidden, and their actual meaning is unclear. For example, I use Facebook to log in to many sites. If I suspend my account, do those logins fail? After much research, I still do not know. Social media sites are like planes designed for perpetual flight. Anyone wanting to come down must signal wildly before attempting a crash landing."
We have a two word reaction to all that: Holy hell. If Thurston feels like Facebook and other social networking sites are "planes designed for perpetual flight" we would suggest that the problem is him, not the sites. This is the main issue with this "unplugging trend:" If you need to unplug, you have a problem — not the gadgets and not the sites — and you take it all way too seriously.
Of course, now that this trend is out there, people are going to make money off of the idiots who feel they need to unplug. There are now "tech getaway" camps for adults, which ask people to give up their stuff and go camping, all for a nice fee. "My goal now is to connect people,” Levi Felix, a founder of one of these camps — Digital Detox — told The New York Times. "There’s always going to be more media, more to do outside of where you are. The only moment that matters is right now." And profiting off of that moment!
For those that are buying this trend, we suggest a four stage plan: 1) Stop checking your email, you're not that important anyway, 2) Go outside 3) Stay there for a bit and 4) Stop taking the Internet so damn seriously. It's that easy! It's free and best of all, you won't annoy all your other friends who don't need to unplug to feel normal.