At this time in history, most individuals are incapable of living in the present moment.
The reason? Technology. In 2016, we are constantly plugged in, reacting to news feeds and emails—constantly connecting to others through smartphones and other devices.
Phones are always within an arm’s reach. Thoughts are constantly being posted on Twitter. Photos are endlessly uploaded to Instagram.
It’s something we’re almost all guilty of.
For 48-hours, could you give it all up? Could you do a “digital detox?”
In May, Bentley University Prof. Jeff Stern gave a talk at Creative Mornings PKX, discussing the idea of giving up technology for an entire weekend. He tested the idea on a group of students in 2014, and this weekend, he’s leading a group on the Seacoast to participate in the same event.
Participants in the Digital Fast will turn off their phones and all other electronic devices at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, August 5th.
For the next 48-hours, participants will not be allowed to use their phones, the internet, computers, laptops, or tablets. They will also be unable to watch TV or movies, play video games, or view personal screens of any kind.
And at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, August 7th, you’re free to plug back in.
Sounds intriguing, right?
For an entire weekend, spend time away from the 24-news cycle. Don’t check out everyone’s photos on Instagram. Don’t multitask. Be unavailable.
Unsurprisingly, this is not a new idea.
In his inspiration for bringing Seacoast Digital Fast to life, Jeff Stern cites the book Present Shock by Douglas Rushkoff. In it, Rushkoff argues we no longer have a sense of a future, goals, or direction at all.
Due to technology, we have a completely new relationship to time—constantly living in an always-on “now,” where the priorities of this moment are the only thing that matters.
Voters want immediate results from politicians, having lost all sense of the historic timescale on which government functions. And kids text or Snapchat during parties to find out if there’s something better happening somewhere else.
This can be seen in things like politics, where voters want immediate results from politicians, having lost all sense of the historic timescale on which government functions. It’s also omnipresent in social settings, where kids text or Snapchat during parties to find out if there’s something better happening somewhere else or adults play Pokemon Go in the middle of sporting events.
Fast Company wrote an article last year detailing a digital fast of CEOs, entrepreneurs, and others. What they found was better posture, more relaxed conversation, improved memory, better sleep, and new perspectives from participants, among others.
Does the Seacoast Digital Fast sound like something you’d be interested in?
Local participants are invited to attend the Seacoast Digital Fast kickoff party at 3S Artspace’s Block Six restaurant in Portsmouth from 4:30-6:30 p.m. on Friday, August 5th. The group will reconvene at Portsmouth Book & Bar on Sunday from 5 to 7 p.m., to re-enter the digital realm together.
If you’d like to participate but are unable to make it to the kickoff or closing part, you can follow the event online (Yes, they’re using social media to promote taking a break from social media) up until the “turning off point.”
For more information on Seacoast Digital Fast, visit the links below. And join me not online next weekend! Who knows, maybe this is the weekend to make ourselves live in the present moment again.
- Seacoast Digital Fast Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/seacoastdigitalfast
- Block Six Kick-Off Party event: https://www.facebook.com/events/994106154038054/
- Website & Digital Detox sign-up: http://seacoastdigitalfast.com/
- Jeff Stern’s Digital Detox talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5yKL9MDbIU