April 19 – 24 is Digital Detox Week. This is a campaign created by Adbusters to free us from the confines of a digital lifestyle. Here is what Zachary Colbert of Adbusters has to say about the challenge to detox our lives from our digital addiction:
"We are being shaped by the constant proliferation of digital
technologies in our everyday lifestyles. The Internet may have connected
the globe forever, but the developed world is now completely at its
mercy. Terms and conditions apply to our autonomy. The World Wide Web
has infused our society with an all-encompassing reliance on media
technologies. At any given time we are staring at a screen, listening to
an iPod, using GPS or holding our iPhone – the device that combines all
the above functions in an intuitive and responsive little pocket tool.
With this handy instrument on us at all times we are obligated to
communicate and to be tuned in to entertainment and information. We are
objectified as “users” not people. The products of our digital
revolution run our daily routines. We are no longer free agents –
technical extensions to our physical selves have become as vital as a
limb or an organ.
Digital media will continue to shape us independently and as a society,
by acting as a conduit of experience and by invading our real space and
time. How many of us have wasted hours idly surfing the Internet or
aimlessly flicking through endless TV channels?
This is what Jean Baudrillard called “the era of simulation,” we are
being herded in preordained directions, dictated by omniscient authors.
By following hyperlinks on Wikipedia, for example, we are following
someone else’s premeditated path through information and jumping from
one piece of subject matter to another. All too often users mistake
these connections as their own and continually follow externalized
thought processes, relying less and less on their natural associations.
Similarly, social networks such as MySpace and Facebook externalize
relationships, which has fragmented society by encouraging everyone to
recede into their new portable plaything rather than sparking up
conversation. The BlackBerry smartphone means that bosses never have to
leave the office, while microblogging services such as Twitter mean that
they can text the entire team to call an all-important emergency
meeting in one fell swoop. Escape is futile. As we move from an
industrial civilization into an information civilization, we’re online
and we’re locked in. Try a digital detox for even just a day, I bet you
will fail, I already have"