Friday, June 6, 2008

Technology Sabbath


As my priest, Nicholas Knisely knows all too well, I carry my blackberry around with me wherever I go--including to church on Sundays. (Nicholas does too!). And I hardly avoid the Internet on Sunday--and I even have an excuse since I am the Sunday editor of the group Episcopal news blog, the Lead.

Still, I think this suggestion by Michael Glasser makes a great deal of sense:

Lately, I’ve been experimenting with taking one day each week away from work completely. You might think this would be an easy task as there’s a “weekend” each week that allegedly offers up two full days of rest. And yet, as I work at home, the shiny big screen of the iMac beckons at all hours, and I am often in front of its white glow the first thing every morning and the last thing at night.

So, being that I am Jewish — though not very religious — I decided to shut down the computer each Friday night at sunset until Saturday at sunset, the traditional time of the Jewish Sabbath. I make exceptions when I need to get directions or check for a personal email. I still use my cell phone but try to limit it to personal calls only. While this day of technological rest can be a difficult routine, it has allowed me to stretch my time, spend more hours outside and be with people more in face-to-face settings.

And I’m not alone. The concept of a “Technology Sabbath” is becoming more widespread, both in religious circles and among bloggers and media people who are overwhelmed with the always-on nature of the broadband Internet and smartphones. And that overwhelming feeling is exacerbated by instant messaging, social networking and services such as Twitter, that allow us to do more informal communications electronically rather than in person.


The full article is well worth reading. Hat tip to Melissa Rogers.

There is something profoundly unhealthy about our emerging 24/7 culture. I need to find a way to make time for a technology sabbath--as well as periodic technology vacations and perhaps even a technology sabbatical. (I can hear Nicholas already saying "Good luck with that.")

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