Declaration of Independence

This is a media challenge I made to my students for the 4th of July. You are invited to participate if you would like to join in… or in this case, turn off.
Declare Your Freedom from Media
Media are pervasive in our lives, having moved from distraction to obsession for many of us—and I am just as guilty as anyone else. It seems we always have our smart phones in hand continually checking, swiping, posting, and texting. It’s not uncommon to see people physically together but completely disconnected from each other as they focus on the digital world. We fall into the trap of being more concerned with what’s happening “out there” than with what’s happening “right here.” We’re so electronically in-touch, we lose the human touch. Or we’re so anxious to capture a moment for social media that we miss the actual experience altogether.
Yes, I do understand “real relationships” and “real moments” can be shared through technology and that’s a wonderful thing. Nevertheless, the reality is relationships—and our own peace of mind–frequently suffer because of technology. It’s good to be connected. It’s better to be connected as human beings engaged in the moment with each other… seeing, talking, hearing and touching (in socially approved ways, of course).
I say all of that as a lead in to this… I’m challenging you to join in the Declaration of Media Independence for 24 hours on July 4th.
Here’s how it works:
* No logging in to social media. That means no checking or posting with Twitter, Facebook, Vine—whatever. If you take a picture of those beautiful ribs you grilled or the beer can pyramid your buddies constructed, you can’t post it to Instagram until the next day. Better yet, don’t take a picture at all, just enjoy that rich, artistic expression for what it is.
* No texting. You may want to tell your family and friends what you’re doing so they don’t think you’ve been abducted by aliens. If you need to connect with someone, have a voice-to-voice conversation.
* No surfing the internet. If someone asks if George Washington signed the Declaration of Independence, you can’t look it up. He did not… I looked it up.
* Beyond that, take it as far as you want to go. You may also choose to turn off the television and power down the video games. It’s up to you.
The idea is to focus completely on who you are with and be fully engaged in what you are doing for 24 hours on the 4th of July. You are free, of course, to make alterations to the challenge. I can’t require you to disconnect for 24 hours. But I do hope you will give it a try. Then your assignment for next week is to answer these questions:
Did you make it? Did you make alterations?
Were you uncomfortable? Did you have withdrawals?
Did being disconnected cause you problems?
Did you feel more connected and engaged?
Was your interaction with people different?
How was the passing of the day different?
What did you miss? What did you gain?
For my Facebook friends… you are welcome to post your comments about your 24-hour Declaration of Media Independence experience–just be sure to wait until the 5th to do it.

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