I’ve been thinking about writing this for a while, but reading @babiejenks‘ old post, Social Super Sized and a great post on The 99%, Is Consumerism Killing Creativity? inspired me to finally get it out into the world. It’s hard to unplug from everything and spend time alone and sometimes, it’s difficult to explain why it’s important. I mean, I don’t really go for that hippy, back-to-nature shit and I truly believe that technology, social connectivity and the current pace of rapid innovation is making my life better. So why, if I am one of the industry’s biggest champions, do I insist you unplug? Here’s a couple of reasons:

5. You don’t know how to be alone. The more you rely on social networking to fill up your alone time, the more you need to learn how to be by yourself. If you don’t think you’re interesting enough to hang out with, why should anyone else? Learn how to sit down with out distractions and see what happens. Can you hang out with yourself all day with nothing to do? Congratulations, so can every 5-year-old on the planet. It’s called using your imagination. Trust me, it makes your life better.

4. You are too stressed. Keeping up with everything and everyone is hard work. Come on, we’ve all felt it, being popular is stressful. How do you juggle so much all the time? Forget trying to please everyone and go for a run. Or do yoga. Or read a book. Whatever gets you going. Escaping all of it not only gives you some room to breathe, it helps put everything into perspective. For me, there’s nothing like hopping on the treadmill with some music cranked to realize that nothing is as bad as it seems. 

3. You are an idea black hole. How can you come up with new ideas when you are bombarded with the same thing all of the time? When you unplug and do something different, you can see how the rest of the world works. The things you take for granted might be completely confusing for others. When you put yourself in someone else’s shoes, you come up with ideas of how to do things in a different way. 

2. You don’t like it anymore. Does it feel like a job? It shouldn’t. Well, parts of it should (like the parts where people pay you to be online and report back to them on how you are doing…). Leave your phone behind and go do the coolest thing you can think of. Wait for that moment where you cannot wait to tell your friends. Realize that you’ll have to wait until you get back to your phone/computer to tell them. Build a story around what you’ve done that was so cool. Figure out the best way to share it. Get excited again. 

1. You are really fucking boring. You think I’m rude? Have you met you? You only talk about the Internet. Nobody can be that one dimensional and be interesting. Going to conferences and getting drunk with people who also spend all of their time online doesn’t make you interesting either. It makes you kind of sad. Go hang out with people who don’t understand what you do. Go hang out with people who do things you don’t understand. Talk to everyone. Learn everything. I don’t mean this in a self-help sort of way. I’m sure it’ll make you grow as a person, but more importantly, it’ll mean that your friends will enjoy your conversation again. Right now, they roll their eyes everytime you mention the latest social network (or worse, update different social networks while hanging out with them). 

This post is full of grown up words! Sometimes, you just need to drop an eff bomb or two. If you are offended by this, I worry about how you survive in the real world. Please come over, I’ll make you some cookies and we can talk it out.