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Unplug It

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Hey Fran Hey

In this TEDx episode, there are quite a few arising questions while listening to Paul Miller share his experience in unplugging from the internet for a full year. Paul describes his life as being fully involved with technology since 12 years-old. A web designer as a teenager, Paul quickly moved to write about technology as a journalist in his early twenties. Feeling defeated using internet, Paul undergoes an independent study focusing on his experience of 365 days of being internet-free. Leaving the internet gave Paul a sense of freedom, granting him time to decide what he wanted to do, instead of taking the path of least resistance. Leaving the internet also invited deeper interactions with people, instead of giving them anything less than 100% of his full attention.

My first personal experience with internet was when I was 12 or 13 years-old as well. I was in 7th grade, and MySpace was the coolest thing. You could customize your profile, change your background, arrange your top friends (drama llama), add music to your profile, instant message someone—the freedom was endless! A good handful of my classmates had the social media app as well. I did not have internet on my phone, so I would have to log in on my computer—the one with the tower moaning and groaning when you push the power button. My mom having Facebook at the time, I saw that she connected with family, so I asked if she could set an account up for me. I thought it was boring, you couldn’t add a cool background to your profile so I thought it was lame. I only added family members until I was in high school. I didn’t have a phone with internet access until I was a junior in high school, which was in 2012. I was one of the last of my friends to have internet on my phone, so it made me grateful to have that access when I did; when I bought my 1st iPhone with my tax return.

Over the next few years I collected a few more social media apps—Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, and lastly Twitter. While I was engaged with Paul’s story, I couldn’t help but think: how much of a tool do I use technology for? I Google questions I need an answer to, I Pinterest lesson plans and cute holiday decorations and recipes, I access Facebook to stay connected to friends and news; but in all reality, am I scrolling or finding useful resources? Anyone who has a Facebook account knows how easy it is to watch a quick video and then watch another nine videos on auto play. Is technology defeating society in a way? So many technology users are adjusting their time and efforts into charging a battery or finding a signal. Society was blessed with a cordless phone, but now it’s just the same being connected to a charging port. There have been so many times that I have adjusted myself and my acts to “capture” something. I love making memories and keeping them, but why do I need to have technology be a part of my life and my moments I live? BBC News author Zoe Kleinman gently shares her views on technology integrating itself into our everyday lives and some scientific facts.

“Technology is a wonderful thing if we use it properly – and we need to use it properly.”

How can we succeed in our goals and dreams using social media? I have seen social media users use the internet to its fullest potential. Individuals searching for a member and having the post shared thousands of times to deliver the correct data to the right person. Amber alerts issued across the media, GoFundMe organizations for those in need, digital activism campaigns, all of it has made a presence in technology. Without technology, would our relationships and interaction skills change? The DailyMail.com gives a brief overlook of how individuals feel about their significant other using their smartphone and feel to be a “third wheel” in the relationship. To balance our technology use, Paul has a solution. In finding balance, do something in real life, and then tell the internet about it. Paul credits one of his friends for making balance applicable. “If you were 100% online, you would have missed this experience, and if you were still 100% offline, we would have missed it.”

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2 thoughts on “Unplug It”

  1. I remember when Myspace was the “coolest” thing for us to have back in 7th grade! My friends and I were so excited about it at the time and now I look back and think otherwise. I like how you pointed out that when we first started using the internet, we didn’t have it on our phones, we had to sit at the computer with the tower. Once we were able to access it on our phones, it was like our lives changed. Social media and the internet can be good when people use them in the right ways!

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