Do you disconnect for the holidays?
As of last month, I’ve been doing this mobile technology gig for four years.
Playing and tinkering with new mobile devices has become more than just an awesome job, more than an obsession or hobby. As cliché as it sounds, it’s a way of life.
I’m always messing with things, tweaking my home screens, searching for new apps and services, trying new games, reading tech news, poking and prodding, and thinking about what I’m going to say about a product once the final review time comes.
All of these are things I do without thinking – it’s innate. If I’m not doing them, chances are: I have my eyes glued to a viewfinder on my camera, glued to my monitor with Final Cut Pro X staring at about 100GB of video footage, watching Netflix through my eyelids from my couch (using Chromecast, of course), or actually sleeping.
Okay, I may be exaggerating just a bit. But the message stands: I love mobile technology and rarely ever part from it. In fact, I’m typically looking for new ways to further integrate mobile technology into my life, such as replacing my car stereo with a Nexus 7, scheming awesome smartphone home automation ideas with my roommate, or something equally nerdy.
No less, we all get burned out at times. And as someone who eats, sleeps, and breathes mobile technology in order to pay the bills, I tend to get this way more often than most – at least every couple months.
Fortunately, a rare weekend away from the Internet typically fixes things for the next few months. And any possible time to disconnect and unwind from the fast-paced online tech media world is more than welcomed.
Every year, I dabble with the same idea. “Should I disconnect for the holidays?”
I would never dream of disconnecting like Paul Miller from The Verge. A full year away from the Internet is ludicrous and the exact opposite of forward-thinking. But a shorter, much more tolerable amount of time – such as a few days or even an entire week – has piqued my interests for the last several years.
Last year, I decided to do this for a seemingly simple 24-hour span. The night before Thanksgiving, I shut off my phones, tablets, and computer at 11:59, and I didn’t touch them again until midnight the following day.
The idea was that I would spend my time doing what I should be doing, what we all should be doing: enjoying the presence of our family and friends which we probably don’t see nearly enough. I only see my direct relatives every few weeks, at the very most. We’re all so busy and live so far away from one another, everyone being in the same place at the same time is both a logistical nightmare and a rare occurrence. As such, Thanksgiving is usually a pretty big deal for … all of my separate families.
So I shut my technology off last year with the plan to focus my entire attention to my nephews, nieces, sister, uncles, aunts, and all the family I hadn’t seen in months. The plan was solid, and I couldn’t have been more determined.
I was excited for how quiet, calm, and relaxing the day was going to be.
Of course, things never go as planned. I stuck to my guns and didn’t even care to reach for my phone, but the inevitable happened.
Last year, essentially everyone in my family upgraded to smartphones and purchased tablets. Everyone paid more attention to their own devices than anything else, playing games and carrying on private conversations with others ignoring their families. Even worse, they all had a million and one questions for the resident tech nerd, the one who swore off technology for the day.
As much as I’d like to disconnect this Thanksgiving or Christmas, technology has infiltrated my family … almost entirely. If everyone else is going to be nose-to-phone all day, I’m not going to be the only one sitting on the couch not playing games or tweeting.
I might as well embrace it. At the very least, it keeps the craziness at bay. And I guess it would be a lot worse if my family didn’t share my love for technology, right?
What about you, ladies and gents? Are you going to be disconnecting this holiday season to spend more quality time for your family? Or, like mine, has your family embraced technology to the fullest?