Are you a puppet of your gadgets?


Yesterday I wrote about how working your proper hours is important for your health and your sanity.

But now let’s get meta and take a look at the bigger system, what enables you to work 10, 11, 12 hours a day, shall we?

I’ve written about The Society of the Spectacle by Guy Debord, which talks about how buying vacation packages is buying back your leisure time.

And I’ve written about Consumed, which also talks about how the freedom to buy is not really a freedom if that’s the only freedom you have.

Here’s a little bit of modern anthropology.

Imagine yourself as interlocutor.

You are surrounded by electric lights. A personal computer. And you wouldn’t go ANYWHERE without your cellphone. You are overworked and underpaid. Sometimes you like to take package vacations.

Imagine if we didn’t have electric lights. It would be nigh impossible to work into the night as so many of us do.

Imagine if we didn’t have personal home computers. It would be nigh impossible to ask employees to work on things at home.

Imagine if we didn’t have cellphones. No digital leashes to tie us to work or to friends when we’re out in the world. We’d actually have to interact with our surroundings more.

Imagine if we didn’t have to work 8 hours a day then BUY BACK OUR LEISURE TIME with movies, a show with a cover charge, a conference, or the mall?

We follow someone else’s orders as our work, to earn money, and then we use our money to buy back our leisure time with these purchased and mediated experiences.

Anywhere we go where we have to pay money to participate in an experience, we’re buying back that time.

The crux of my argument is this.

Your gadgets are controlling you.

A society that says you have to spend money to have a good time is controlling you.

How can you take your life back?

This week, how can you keep your money and enjoy things without it?
I was struck by Joe Waters’ recent post about how he unfollowed everyone on Twitter, and then only followed back a few people. Because Twitter had started to take over his life. And I thought, yes, this applies to us, we who work with social media as part of our jobs.

I did just spend a week liveblogging and livetweeting at NTC so I’m a big hypocrite but hear me out. I’m preaching what I need to do as well.

Resources to help your digital detox? But of course. I have them.