While I’ve never been one to get too worked up over New Year’s resolutions, I’ve found myself returning to ideas of self-improvement and restored mental health right around the annual swapping out of calendars.
I’ve long been fascinated with the intersection of the digital world and mindfulness (usually the lack thereof) and have found myself thinking more about this in recent weeks.
Over the holidays, I found myself in conversations about Freedom, the paid app noted for the fact it disconnects you from the internet for set periods of time, and subsequently returning to the compelling Slate post on the service and Pico Iyer’s much-discussed “The Joy of Quiet” opinion piece from just over a year ago.
Along with a great number of you, no doubt, I’ve been in quite a few of these conversations over the years and have written about it from time to time. In one post I even explored whether social (media) silence might some day be considered the holy grail of a great social event. The only thing that’s different this year seemed to be the number of people who claim to be “over” some of the biggest internet time-sucking vices, namely Facebook and Twitter.
On my way home from the airport earlier this week, all these ideas around disconnecting and focusing on more tangible aspects of life were heightened by a simple piece of advertising. Ironically, or possibly fittingly, it was a physical ad in the form of a billboard from USDA’s “unplug and reconnect with nature” campaign that got my attention.
With ideas of unplugging and reconnecting with what matters weighing heavily on my mind, I was happy to stumble upon the following video from Chris Williams, a software developer who took the step to disconnect completely from Twitter and shared his findings in a presentation from about a month ago.
If you’ve ever been interested to learn what you might possibly gain from dialing down the noise, I encourage you to watch Chris’ compelling, purposefully quiet video.
Whether you follow Chris’ lead or not, you’ll probably appreciate what will likely be the quietest seven minutes of your year so far.