How often do you unplug?

Chromebook in my kitchen

This morning I was sitting at the kitchen counter and enjoying a cup of coffee. For the first time in almost two weeks I was catching up on social media notifications and some of the people that I enjoy following on the web.

During the time that I was in Hamilton, Massachusetts, Brittani and I didn’t have much access to the Internet. Cellphone service was fine, but we were so busy and engaged with my family and each other that we didn’t have the time (or urge) to whip out our smartphones and keep up with the other going-ons of the world.

In a sense, it was kind of liberating. We live in a world right now where we are addicted to the satisfaction of “Likes” retweets and comments. Our brains are hooked on the positive emotion of seeing interaction on the content that we share, as trivial as some of it might be. For one long weekend, Brittani and I put all of that to the wayside and just enjoyed our time with the family.

After coming back home I was so tied up with work that I didn’t really do much social media. In fact, it’s been a couple of weeks since I have sat down at a computer outside of work to do anything other than pay bills.

What I have found in my abstinence of social media is that it really doesn’t help me enjoy life. Sure, it’s an easy way to see who is up to what, who is having a baby and who won the big game, but some of that news is delivered so impersonally.

As technology improves and we start to better appreciate focused and curated information I think we will see mainstream social media playing a much different part in our lives. Posting “status updates” and photos of culinary adventures will still have its place in the world, but I think in a much different context.

Yesterday while I was enjoying a Labor Day celebration with friends and family I was speaking to a local web developer that limits his “online” activity to his workplace. He’s deleted his Facebook account after spending years as a social media marketing manager. He said it was one of the most liberating feelings in his life. To top it off, he doesn’t even carry a smartphone.

Listening to him tell me that he was a web developer that was totally unplugged from the grid outside of his 9-5 was totally foreign to me. I didn’t even think it made sense, but then it struck me. Our vocations have been so centered around computers that “personal computing” is a lost idea. We spend so much time in our jobs focusing on a 20″ screen that we are losing the urge to do anything (even creative) once we leave the office.

The last two weeks have been great for me. I feel refreshed, accomplished, relaxed and ready for my next adventure. Maybe I should unplug more often?

What is the longest you have ever been unplugged? Have you stopped using social media recently? Do you think the way we use social media is starting to change?

How I Ended Up Buying a Nexus 7



I said I wouldn’t do it…but here’s what happened.

It all started last week when I was reading all of the hype about the Nexus 7 and how it was simply the best Android experience to date. As someone with way too many computing devices already littering the house, I was skeptical but I waned to go to Best Buy to check them out.

So, last week, Brittani and I ventured over to my favorite store to look at all of the shiny new things. Right as we walked in the door I was perplexed by an Apple Macbook Air on display with a clearance price of $539. Surely that couldn’t be right…

I whisked Brittani to the Apple display where–much to my amazement–we confirmed that last year’s module of the 11″ Macbook Air was selling for a rock bottom price. I insisted she buy one to replace her aging Macbook that has served her so well over the last 7 years.

We were in such a hurry trying to make sure we got the Macbook Air deal that we forgot to inquire about the Nexus. Admittedly, I left the store defeated for Brittani (the non-geek of the house) had gotten the deal of the century and I walked away, once again empty handed.

After buying the laptop I thought about making a return trip during the tax holiday to return and repurchase the laptop without the burden of sales tax (9.25%) and save ourselves an easy $45.

So today we returned to Best Buy and went to the register to make the transaction. As the clerk was ringing us up Brittani pointed out a large crowd gathered around the tablet computer display and said to me that they must be stupid because the tax holiday only covers laptops. The clerk stopped what he was doing and interrupted, “No, actually it covers tablets, too.”

What?! I could save an extra 9.25% if I made a completely unplanned impulse purchase today? My heart started pounding. I knew the chances of a Nexus 7 being in stock were slim, but I had to ask, “You don’t have any… Nexus 7’s…do you?”

“Good choice,” he said.” Let me see if we have any in the cage.”

My eyes filled with wonderment and my smile grew ear to ear as we stood outside of the storage room and I saw a glorious tower of blue boxes. “Is a 16GB okay?” he asked.

Shut up and take my money, I said… well not really. But that’s the story of how I ended up with my new Nexus 7.

Do you have one?