Pointlessness of Unplugging


There’s an article in the NYT called THE POINTLESSNESS OF UNPLUGGING. The author writes:

It suggests that the selves we are online aren’t authentic, and that the relationships that we forge in digital spaces aren’t meaningful….

This sort of stunt presents an experiment, with its results determined beforehand; one finds exactly what one expects to find: never more, often less. It’s one of the reasons that the unplugging movement has attracted such vocal criticism from the likes of Nathan Jurgenson, Alexis Madrigal, and Evgeny Morozov. If it takes unplugging to learn how better to live plugged in, so be it. But let’s not mistake such experiments in asceticism for a sustainable way of life. For most of us, the modern world is full of gadgets and electronics, and we’d do better to reflect on how we can live there than to pretend we can live elsewhere.

But there’s more.

Pointlessness. Yes. Really.

Whether one calls them digital detoxes or just taking a break they are often used as a means to announce something determined to be defiant to the world. A “Look at me! I’m a rebel.” kind of narcissistic gesture.

About as useless as turning off your lights for an hour on Earth Day.

A symbolic gesture that is meant as a feel good palliative and is forgotten the next day. No questioning of why one is plugged in (communicatively or electrically), the larger implications of the consumption of media and it’s infrastructure, or the privilege of being in the position to actually turn these things off and post a posed selfie, with hand drawn sign, the next day indicating another uptick of fake social awareness and in-group cultural capital.