A couple of months ago my good friend Roberto Rosales had upgraded his phone and decided to toss me his old iPhone 3Gs.

When I told my friends I’d finally be able to join them on Instagram and Draw Something, one of them remarked  “pooping will never be the same…”

I’m using it now as an iPod Touch essentially and it’s quite the upgrade from my old Samsung Epix (which I also still carry). Suddenly I’m very connected to the web, assuming I’m near wi-fi of course.

It’s funny how demanding the connected world can become. Suddenly I find myself tempted to check my e-mail more often, to take more pictures, to see what’s happening on Reddit and Twitter more often. It’s only been a couple months but I can see how it can becoming addicting. According to one study, possible more addicting than alcohal or cigerttes.

Suddenly I get it, why my friends freak out when they don’t have their phone with them or how they’re always checking it at lunch.

I mean I get, I don’t like it and I refuse to be a part of it, but I get it. HuffPo’s Craig Kanalley would agree with me. It’s getting a little overwhelming.

It’s estimated that that we spend an average of 27 minutes per day on Facebook, Twitter has nearly 7 million active daily users and Instagram just passed them. Speaking of Twitter, they’ve become a dominate player in news reporting, demanding our attention lest our fear of missing anything.

I for one choose not to welcome our new overloards

We’ve entered an era where the Internet is starting to make demands of us rather then us making demands of it. Search queries and information gathering has been replace with guilt trips over not updating social media profiles, fears of missing out and pings alerting us to new emails and pictures of kids your former high school classmate had

The smartphone era has has been a wonder with it’s always connected everywhere information on anything instantly culture… But I’d venture to say it’s also a curse.

I still have a “dumb” phone. My Samsung has seen better days and it does crash whenever I receive a picture text, but it’s also very liberating.

I do not have to check email when I get email, I check it when I want to; two or three times a day when I have 15 min. to spare.

I do not have to upload live streams from concerts, instead I’m free to enjoy them in the present and not on YouTube later.

I do not have to have angry friends asking me why I didn’t respond to their Twitter DM while I was at lunch or driving somewhere, instead I get to check out for a while, take a mental break, gather my thoughts, enjoy being outside and come back to the desk with ideas to share and a Tweetdeck ready to catch me up on the last hour.

This in uncommon among my peers, but when I go on vacation I don’t worry about what is happening online, on my Facebook, in my email, on Twitter or Reddit or Instagram or the next Pinterest/Chime.In/Quora/insert your flavor of the week here.

On these trips I feel amazing not having to think about it, because I’m enjoying the present moments and taking in life.

And I think that is the way it should be. The web is a great tool, but it needs to remain a tool and not become the nucleus of our being.

What if…

All this got me thinking, what would happen if more people tried to checkout for a week? What would happen? What would we learn about ourself?

Now before you start writing angry comments to point out the hypocrisy of a multimedia journalist asking you to abandon the web for a while, let me be clear.

Technology is great, I love the web and how much more interconnected it’s made the world, our views, and brought the arts, innovation and information to anyone with a wifi connection or phone line. The web is an amazing repository of human knowledge, democratized for all with access to it. However, it’s also very demanding and consuming of time and energy.

So, what would happen if we got offline?

That was the nugget of the idea which eventually lead to GenYGetOfflineDay.

A challenge to a connected generation to unplug for a day and engage in the type of human connectivity that can only happen face to face.

A hypothesis was born:



So together with my partner, I through together some art, she wrote up some copy, we cobbled together a website and 3 days later www.GenYGetOfflineDay.com was born.

Let the social experiment begin! Sign up to be a part of it and on Oct 13 join us to find out what happens when we go outside.