"Unplug to reconnect..."
I first heard this phrase a few years ago. My initial thought was it sounds too simple to have validity. Fast forward to today and I'd like to change my mind. I think the statement has merit.
My iPhone 7 Plus died last week. No warning. It simply powered down on its own never to restart again. It suffered a tragic death after eight beautiful months of life. I guess I would have expected a longer life expectancy, but it wasn't meant to be. It served its purpose in the disposable electronics world. On a more pleasant note... it's still under warranty and a new one should arrive soon.
The first couple of days were a bit uncomfortable. Not having the portability of a mobile phone/computer and constant contact leaves a void. There's an awkward fear of missing something. Anything. The biggest adjustment for me wasn't the silence or lack of Olympic tweets & updates, it was not having a watch! As silly as this sounds, I haven't worn a watch for over a decade. I found myself asking strangers for the time. Fortunately, nobody hit me with the old joke "Do I look like Big Ben to you?" (note to self: Stop messing around. Time to buy a watch).
This gets me thinking about our 24/7 connected world. Do we really need to be connected all the time? Seriously. How much would we miss if we checked our cell phones once or twice a day? Time is often considered our most valuable asset. The amount of time we spend staring at our phone, waiting for a text, or updating our social media feeds borders on insane.
A survey by Deloitte in 2015 found Americans collectively check their mobile devices 8 billion times per day. Usage varies based on age, but the average user will check their phone 46 times per day. This equates to 3.83 times per hour. We check our phones within five minutes of waking up and continuously check throughout the day. The survey does acknowledge increased usage is due in part to financial transactions like Apple Pay, Starbucks, etc. However, I have to believe the largest percentage of usage is due to texting and social media participation.
Maybe I'm old school, but I want to go back in time. The period where people got together and looked at one another when they talked. Where a head nod or a little body language spoke volumes to what was being discussed. Summer BBQ's were a time to catch up with family & friends and exchange pleasantries. You can argue families still gets together, but you pretty much know what everyone has done during the past year... or perhaps 15 minutes ago.
Christmas cards are even becoming a thing of the past. Posting a family portrait on Facebook with a festive border is the new standard. What happened to a card with a short note to say hello? Even the dreaded holiday letter was better than what we have now. It's time to revert back to a more simple era.
I recently read a great article on the Travel Channel website about unplugged vacations entitled, the 'digital detox' solution. How to go cold turkey. The collection of 32 island destinations in the Caribbean require you to turn over any mobile or electronic device(s) upon arrival.
I'll quietly applaud the concept... sounds like pure bliss.