Shabbat is a very old idea -- 5000 years old. And people have been talking about "technology shabbats" for a while ... but perhaps today, we. Really. Need. An. Intervention.
I definitely do. Recently addicted to tweeting, I became that person I hated who pulled out her iPhone while actually talking to someone -- sneaking email fixes in bathroom stalls. It was getting ugly. My team and I were busy working on our feature documentary film, "Connected: A Declaration of Interdependence." We were writing, texting, tweeting, emailing, talking, deciding, doing -- the filmmaking hive mind that is editing. We heard that an organization we're involved with, Reboot, was doing a National Day of Unplugging and were asked to participate. Immediately it was clear: "We must partake!"
Our film, "Connected," deals with what it means to be human in the 21st Century: connected, disconnected, interdependent sets of issues and all that goes with those subjects. Our goal with this project is to expose the visible and invisible links that connect people and the world. While the idea that everything is connected is not new, the world today is more complex and interdependent than ever before -- and we, as a species, have evolved to create tools that connect us in so many new ways. In the film, we explore both the good, the bad and the unintended consequences all this connectedness brings. Sophocles was right when he presciently said, "nothing vast enters the life of mortals without a curse."
Late one night on a road trip several weeks back with four hours to ourselves and the kids sleeping in the back seat, my husband (and one of the co-writers of Connected), Ken Goldberg, and I were thinking about the "curse" part. We both love technology and have devoted our careers to experimenting with it, but could we unplug for one day a week? Full disclosure. We do celebrate shabbat with our kids every week. We make challah, we light candles, we talk about the week: what we are grateful for, what we want to let go of, what we are looking forward to. Friday night is family night, it is sacred and it is our favorite time of the week. But Saturday, with the "no work or technology thing," not so much. So Ken and I decided to try to truly power down on March 19 for 24 hours. And In honor of National Day of Unplugging, we reworked Ginsberg's "Howl," into "Yelp." Then last week, my Connected team and I made it into a three-minute film pulling ideas, images and animations from our film. It's really a sneak peek of what's to come in the feature.
So here's our little film in honor of National Day of Unplugging. We hope you enjoy. Please turn up the volume and if you like it, please pass it forward. Because what would a revolution look like if it happened once a week, every week?
Join us. Unplug.
Follow Tiffany Shlain on Twitter: www.twitter.com/tiffanyshlain