Unplugged in the Countryside

We owe most of our modern marvels to advances in technology. Technology has cured diseases, pumped water into our homes, flooded our night-life with lights, and transported us around the world.

This track record of success has also convinced us that technology keeps us connected. While better communication is definitely one of the benefits it can provide, what it really does is keep us plugged in.

Thus, many people blame technology for the bad communication habits of the current generation. But perhaps it’s time we turn some of that blame on ourselves.

A Distracted Generation

The constant desire to remain plugged in creates a life of constant distractions. No matter how strong your focus, it’s easy to get sidetracked by the low hum of the television set in the living room, or the vibrations of our phones on the bedside table, screaming update after update.

Whether it’s ISIS beheadings or who just liked your picture on Instagram, your devices want you to know it all.

After a while, the fear of missing out becomes a real thing. You want to know what’s happening, when it’s happening, and who it’s happening to. It doesn’t matter if you go, or you help, or make any other valuable input. It only matters that you know.

Thus, we spend more time with our heads glued to screens than we do making conversation, face to face. We have transformed articulate phrases into tacky emojis, and plunged family dinners, and even first dates, into awkward silence.

Real communication has in essence become… inconvenient.

Plugging in for Work

For those who work in public relations and social media, this fear of missing out becomes tied to not just your social life, but your job as well. You have to know what’s going on, and clients expect witty feedback on everything from earthquakes to plastic surgery.

For freelancing specialists, the pressure is even more intense. There is no clocking out and going home for the evening, or relaxing on the weekends. Clients want to be able to reach you at all times, no matter where you are.

In short:

Vacations don’t truly exist when you freelance as a content strategist, unless you unplug.

The Deadzone up North

In spite of this, it’s hard to give up social media during a trip. We all want to share our vacation pictures on Instagram and Facebook, and tweet about our most hilarious moments.

But when I go up north with Michael to see his family, I’m probably more likely to be struck by lightning than get proper phone signal, and WiFi at home starts to feel like a lifelong wish.

We wander around the yard at midnight just trying to send a text message; and a hour and a half’s worth of driving to a friend’s house suddenly becomes attractive, because they have internet.

The struggle is real…

Losing Distractions

Last weekend, we went even further into the dead-zone when we visited Michael’s 95 year old grandmother, on her farm.

We trudged through the open fields, dodged cows, climbed tractors, jumped fences, and went prying in the barn. It was a great reminder that off-screen life can be just as interesting, and even more so because we’re living it ourselves.

But I’d be lying if I said I could live like that for more than a few days, at most. The truth is, though technology has caused us to develop terrible habits, we can’t overlook the benefits.

Not only does it keep us connected with loved ones who live continents away, but it helps us to make it through emergencies, or just to find our way home.

It also helped me to immortalise the experience.

Striking a Balance

At nightfall, after our day of exploring had come to a close, Michael told me:

I’m glad you brought the camera and took pictures of the farm. They’re tearing down all the barns soon. This might be the last time we see it like this – or at all.

Thus, I don’t truly advocate for unplugging. Instead, I advocate for finding a balance in our lives. It’s essential that we continue to harness all the benefits of technology without becoming sucked into the wormhole of the psychological and physiological damage it can cause.

So let’s use our phones to actually reach out to the ones we love again. Let’s send more than a “hey” and “‘sup” or an emoji in answer to our best friend’s rant.

And let’s take pictures that ten years from now will remind us where we were and what we’ve seen and experienced, instead of the amazing contouring we pulled off the night before.

Check out some of the pictures from our rural exploration below.

~ Alexis Chateau

Advertisements

30 Comments Add yours

  1. Leslie says:

    You’ve hit the proverbial nail on the head with this post! And I agree with you that striking a balance is key. Technology is SO FAST – every time something new is introduced I find myself wanting to hit a pause button somewhere because I know I don’t need to be hooked-into/plugged-into everything! Figuring-out what new media actually complements my lifestyle, and what is only going to add more distraction are a frequent concern. Your photos are great and remind me of a desire to balance city life with a bit of time spent “off the grid.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Alex says:

      Thanks Leslie! I’m glad this post added to your philosophical carpentry haha.

      I’ve always become attached to my devices as they are, rather than new technology in general which works in my favour. I only switch them out when I absolutely have to.

      Thanks so much for dropping by!

      Like

  2. Balbir singh says:

    Awesome photos, they remind me of my farm in village and i appreciate your opinion about social media.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Alex says:

      Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed the photos and the read. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on TwoToneTheArtist and commented:
    Featured in this post about the pros and cons of unplugging from social media, and technology in general.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s