"The afternoon lazed along, and when I checked my phone at 5 p.m., I was shocked to find its battery life at a historical high-for-that-time-of-day 50%. My detox was saving battery life (!) which was saving energy (!) which was saving the earth!"
Thurston took a 25 day break from the Internet. You should, too. Here’s a printable guide to unplugging, which you can refer to when you feel the urge to reach for your phone.
“I am here” day is a time to “set aside our technology and to-do lists, choose a quarter of the city we wanted to know better, and explore it for a full day… . [It is] a kind of antimodern communal experiment: giving our gadgets a secular Sabbath; reveling in friendship and conversation of a kind that Facebook doesn’t do; being thickly in one place, not thinly everywhere.”
"The greatest gift I gave myself was a restored appreciation for disengagement, silence, and emptiness. I don’t need to fill every time slot with an appointment, and I don’t need to fill every mental opening with stimulus."
“I love my devices and services, and I love being connected to the global hive mind. I am neither a Luddite nor a hermit, but I am more aware of the price we pay: lack of depth, reduced accuracy, lower quality, impatience, selfishness, and mental exhaustion, to name but a few. In choosing to digitally enhance, hyperconnect, and constantly share our lives, we risk not living them…”
“There were movies, there were food trucks, there were friends, there was mulled wine. There was brief consideration of a mulled-wine food truck. Above all, there was an expansion of sensations and ideas.”
“Perhaps because I wasn’t always getting updates on events happening in faraway places, I focused on the world around me, especially nearby Vanderbilt Avenue, which turns out to be quite a place, especially for food. Late one night, I entered a restaurant called Cornelius, lured by large-print signs in the window advertising meat. Whiskey. Oysters. I could not resist.”
Baratunde Thurston on the happenings of the first week of his digital detox
“Just as smartphones revolutionized how we avoid talking to each other and food trucks changed our tolerance for eating while standing on the street, the emergence of data science as a vehicle for expression is going to radically change how we create. It gives us a new way to tell the story of the world around us. Even if it’s just to find out how racist our current location is.”
Comedy Hack Day, a 36-hour hackathon where participants from both the comedy and tech communities worked together to create some future funny business, appears to have been a crapload of fun.
The big winner of the event is ShoutRoulette, which connects opinionated users to other people with the exact opposite opinion, allowing them to shout at each other. Each member wins a class at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, and entry into the New York Tech Meetup. Other winners include the McKayla Is Not Impressed Chrome Extension (a meme generator), and Spacebar to Money Shot (um, don’t ask.) Even ScatRoulette wins something: The Chris Gethard Memorial Award, which consists of a hug from the judge that goes on for an exceedingly long period.
"It’s irresponsible not to use the tools of the day," he charges. "People say, Oh, if I master Twitter, I’ve got it figured out. That’s right, but it’s also so wrong. If you master those things and stop, you’re just going to get killed by the next thing. Flexibility of skills leads to flexibility of options. To see what you can’t see coming, you’ve got to embrace larger principles."