If you don't receive a text from your bestie this Friday night, it might be because she's pledged to unplug.
One San Francisco-based unplugging party, Unplug SF, will celebrate going off the grid with device-free drinks, dancing and mingling, as well as a unique spotlight on our reliance on social media and technology. As soon as they check their cells at the door, guests will get a feel for what tweeting, writing on Facebook and sending e-mails would be like if, say, the internet never existed.
"The idea is to make people aware of how ubiquitous social media is in our daily life," Levi Felix, founder of Digital Detox -- who's hosting Unplug SF -- told The Huffington Post in an interview. "Everything is 'like this,' 'Instagram this,'" he explained, and our online expectations are taking away from personal, off-screen experiences. As for promoting an off-the-grid event? "Someone even asked me what the hashtag was for the event," he said, a bit begrudgingly. (There isn't one, if you were wondering.)
This spoof on social media is hard to imagine if social media is something you rarely go without it. Take a look at some of the things that will be de-digitized, below:
We're so used to seeing photographs of ourselves -- and modifying them with apps like Instagram. Seeing your face in a hand-drawn form is a different way to "put your own filter on it," Felix says. Artists Wilson Erb and Tristan Wright will be sketching live "profile pictures" at the event, and all guests are welcome to draw their own portraits.
Did you know that "Words With Friends" used to be a 3-D, tactile game? Unplug SF attendees can play Scrabble face-to-face. Here's hoping no one loses a tile in the couch cushion!
Uploading To "The Cloud"
Party goers won't have the "control 'F'" function to find their important documents -- all they'll have to do is look up.
While the keys of a any regular typewriter are the same as your MacBook Pro's, one thing's missing: The "delete" button. "Everything has an 'undo button' nowadays -- you can delete a Facebook post, unsend an email," Felix says. Typing on a typewriter will make users more aware of and intentional about their words.
It's a pretty common practice to write on someone's "wall," but, as Felix points out, "10 years ago no one would know what that means." The event's chalkboard wall mimics the public message-aspect of a Facebook wall, but it will create a space for people to play -- together.
These old-fashioned games will bring unpluggers together: Everyone loves a good board game, or as Felix puts it, "The most natural ice-breaker."
The Real, Live "Poke"
There's probably nothing less personal than a Facebook "poke." At the Unplug SF event, attendees can "get poked and have it actually feel good," Felix says. The wellness space at the event will feature a massage and tea lounge for anyone who wants to decompress.
So, are you unplugging this Friday night? Check in with us after the experience and tell us what you've learned.
Make sure to join our “Social Media Anxiety Disorder” Twitter chat before you unplug. It's happening this Friday, March 1 at 12 p.m. ET. We'll be tweeting from @HealthyLiving and @GPSforSoul with the hashtag #SMAD.
For more on unplugging, click here.