Can you cut the communication connection?
Published: Friday, August 31, 2012
Updated: Friday, August 31, 2012 12:08
Can you survive a day without using the Internet? On Sunday, the Reconnect Project challenges you to try.
Turn off your phone and turn off your laptop – according to social media news site Mashable.com, the Reconnect Project’s mission is to “see what people can do creatively when they disconnect from the world wide web and create original content.”
The idea was brewed by Sebastian Kuhn, a student at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, as an assignment for his New Media & I.T. class. A group was created for the assignment, and now includes fellow students Luke Irlam, Jono Ferreira and Leigh Kooiker.
“Together, it’s been given legs and we’re hoping to see it pick up even more pace now,” Kuhn said in an online interview.
The Facebook page currently has close to 1,000 likes, and the group is hoping to see that number grow exponentially until Sunday.
Perhaps most interestingly, the group doesn’t simply encourage people to go out and experience the world Internet-free for a day. They take it one step further and ask everyone to document their experience in order to share it with them on their Facebook Monday.
“By disconnecting themselves, we hope that the participants will reinvigorate their creativity and begin to generate fresh, new content,” Kuhn said.
The payoff, he says, is to “reconnect” on a grander scale, to “be reconnected with their own creative inspirations, reconnected with other people’s creative output, as well as being inspired by each other afterwards.”
Participants are encouraged to take their cameras, video cameras and other documenting-devices out into the world with them to show off how they spent their day by uploading them to Facebook the next day.
Kuhn says that the project is “kind of a creative rehab” that would help people appreciate the value in the immediacy of our connectivity “rather than seeing it as a lazy shortcut.”
According to a poll conducted on the Reconnect Project’s Facebook, most of the current participants in the Internet-blackout on Sunday are from South Africa. Participants from India are at a close second, while the United States falls third in the number of people staying Internet-free.
Amber Stewart (freshman, psychology) says that she already has not used the Internet since last Friday.
“You can find other things to do, like rearrange things in your room, take an extra-long walk, or call up an old friend to give them updates on what’s going on,” she said.
“Some of us can’t go net-less for an hour, much less an entire day, without developing some sort of nervous tic,” said Nina Fraizer, community intern at Mashable.com, in her online article. “But we have a feeling that a total online blackout – meaning no Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or Internet period – might just do us some good.”
Fellow IUP student Lindsay Predamore (sophomore, exercise science) said that she hadn’t gone a day in at least three years without using the Internet – noting that three years ago she first obtained a smartphone.
“I already know I can’t do it because I always check Facebook and Twitter which you obviously need the Internet for,” Predamore said.
Do you think you have what it takes?