I am a complete victim and champion of my generation. I spend hours mastering Facebook, and can text without looking at my phone. My Instagram is full of throw away photos, and I rarely talk to my friends on the phone. This project is to help me appreciate the tools and technology I have, as well as experiment how this affects me socially. It’s a test of my efficiency as a person without great technological aide, and my ability to entertain myself. The ground rules are detailed, but they’re to prevent me from creatively finding loopholes and weaseling a sneak with Candy Crush Saga. I hope that I accomplish a few highly procrastinated tasks, and give myself a little freedom from the electronic-dependent lifestyle I’ve created for myself.
- I can keep my cell phone on me; however, I cannot use it for anything other than emergency calls (which I will disable the call setting for anyone who is not immediate family or my boss thanks to the iPhone’s Do Not Disturb. If something is emergent, I should address it). Texts will be taken as “pages” and I will not read the message, but rather just see who sent them and choose to call them back via a ground line or when I get home. Again, I will make an exception for work-related messages, since this isn’t meant to inconvenience my bosses nor co-workers.
- I can use the internet for checking my email, but I cannot use social media or similar networks. I can make reasonable exceptions as needed for work (such as instant messaging to communicate with co-workers). I will check my Facebook messages as I would check my e-mail, since most of my friends don’t have my e-mail address, but do my best to not check notifications.
- I can resume use of my cell phone as a phone when I am at home, because I don’t have a hard line phone. This includes checking voicemails and returning calls, but still not texting or using apps.
- I can use my laptop at home for a light amount of personal use. I will only use it while sitting at a table as if it were a desktop. If I use it at work, it should be treated as a separate work computer. Rich Life, Poor Girl will still be updated and is considered work.
- I can watch TV via Hulu and Netflix. Hulu Plus offers shows the next day, which is the same way I would watch a recorded VHS. There are even commercials! I’ll do my best to not Netflix binge, but treat the service more like a physical movie rental service. I wouldn’t have more than 3 rentals at a time, so I won’t be marathoning anything unless I really thought I’d have that many rentals.
- For the sake of navigation, I can use Google Maps (the app or website) to figure out how to get around before I leave the house. I cannot use the search or GPS functions, so I will find things based on my knowledge, addresses, and cross streets. I’ll write down directions and pray I don’t miss a turn.
- I’ll listen to mixed CDs and the radio instead of an iPod, Pandora, or Spotify. I have a few 90s mixes to help me keep in the spirit.
- I will take physical documentation, and then convert it to electronic. My blog posts about this will be written as rough drafts in hand and then transferred to type. I can also continue my unhealthy habit of taking pictures of my food and cat, but I will limit myself to 24 photos a week (as if I had a film camera). I’ll also use 24 photos for a special event or other occasion where I would otherwise buy an extra roll of film.
- I cannot ask someone do something that is off limits for me or engage in conversation about social media. For example, I can’t have anyone check my Facebook or let me know what Britney Spears is tweeting. I must use my discretion to decide between what is loyal to my goal and what is the most logical choice. The point is to relieve myself of the technological dependency; not ignore technological advances and conveniences.
I’m starting this challenge on February 15th for 30 days. I don’t expect it to be easy, but I am hoping to feel a new sense of connection with people before I turn into a girl who is completely disconnected from face-to-face experience. I want to go on walks when I’m bored and discover a new restaurant. I want to greet people as I pass them by instead of looking down and tweeting. I want to go to an interview and actually speak with eloquence and ease. I don’t want to rely on technology as my means of achieving interaction and entertainment.
I encourage you to join me, even if it means you are just putting your phone down for a few hours. Challenge yourself to lessen your dependency on technology, and let’s both learn to appreciate the advances we do have instead of complaining about how we have an iPhone 5 when the iPhone 6 has been on the market for months, or that there isn’t enough data connection to update our statuses.