Shane Hankins – National Day of Unplugging

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My addiction to technology started with a 2000 IBM Thinkpad. I had no idea that it would lead me to the point when I would consider a National Day of Unplugging.

I tried a few tech toys here and there but that laptop was my gateway gadget. I spent more time with my Thinkpad than I did with some of my closest friends and from there, things began to spiral out of control.

Before long, I had internet on my phone. I could tweet/update/email/share anything with anyone at anytime. And I did. I tweeted at family gatherings, checked my email before I got out of bed, and even updated my Facebook status from the middle of the ocean during a cruise.

When it comes to technology in today’s society, being a heavy user is becoming the norm. But when we connect online, do we lose connection with each other and our environment?

That is the query that struck Shane Hankins, the COO of New York think tank, Reboot.

So Hankins proposed an intervention. “Let’s just get people to experience disconnection and unplugging from technology once,” he says. With that in mind, his team created the “National Day of Unplugging,” encouraging people to power down for 24 hours of real life experiences.

Hankins explains that the idea of unplugging makes some people anxious because of the worry that they’re missing out. “People are very concerned that there’s a dialogue or conversation going on (that they aren’t part of),” he says. “But if you’re closed off to the wider world and you’re closed off to things that you’re not purposely trying to narrowcast to yourself, I think you’re missing out on a lot of opportunity.”

Images on the National Day of Unplugging’s¬†website show people stating why they choose to unplug. Some unplug to “relax” and “be free.” Others unplugged to “hike the Buckeye Trail” or “get wild.” Personally, I choose to unplug to reconnect with my family, friends and my real life self.

Find out more about Shane Hankins and the National Day of Unplugging in his interview “Unplugged.”

By: Ishani Nath (@ishaninath) 


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