Last year, Zsuzsi decided to conduct a radical experiment. She went off-line, not only withdrawing from social media, but also online banking, her cell phone, texting, and even her computer.
Here’s what she shared with us.
Being a writer, social media can be addictive. “I’ll check email just one more time” becomes a three hour odyssey down the rabbit hole. When she realized she was enslaved to email, Zsuzsi decided to do something about it.
So, no email, no texting, no computer, no debit, no nothing. This took a while to set up.
In the process, she found a few things that promised to help with the project. The “suicide” app kills your online ID. Digital Detox blocks your access. Camp Grounded is an adult summer camp where your tech toys are confiscated upon arrival.
Are we sacrificing our ability to read and think deeply?
Is Google Making Us Stupid? (article in The Atlantic, 2008) – Nicholas Carr. Maybe not stupid, but lazy.
As a project, she redacted everything in her latest book that she sourced on Google. Many pages had a quarter or more of the text blacked out.
She tried doing “real” research. In a library. With books, articles, and inter-library loan. She has concerns about kids relying too heavily on Wikipedia and plagiarism in class.
Zsuzsi started using an old IBM Selectric typewriter. It forces her to think before typing. Nietzsche used a bizarre-looking typewriter and claimed it helped him write better. “Go online and take a look at it,” she said, and of course, the irony was lost on none of us 😉 Once again ironic, the typewriter was considered the lap top of its time …
Our writing equipment informs our thoughts. The medium has affected the prose.
The Russians are apparently using typewriters to create and send secret messages because there is no electronic footprint.
This experiment helped Zsuzsi engage more deeply with the world.