Home Stretch… and release date!

Friends, I am so excited to share this book with you, I COULD JUST CRY (it might be the sleep deprivation…)

“I love what is happening on the Internet, I do. I love the ideas, the confessions, the livelihoods, but what I find there means nothing, NOTHING, if I don’t take what’s found there and give it legs. And to begin to give these things legs I must stay off-line FOR AWHILE because my mind needs to dig into the thinking, needs to suss out the bits that don’t quite make sense, and I need to make a plan – the lists, the blueprints, the intentions – and then I need to stick with it. And the Internet can help with that. It can help. It is a helper. It is not a be-er. It is not a do-er. No, those parts are up to me.

“And, though I try to be honest, try to share things online that help, though I try not to draw too much attention to myself, it’s still not me. Not really. Because I’ve got skin on. And that skin, it matters. Because I was born with it. I didn’t pick it, I’ve just got to grow into it. And, y’know, even though it’s more spotty and less taut than it once was, I think it’s getting more beautiful. And, you know what, I think yours is, too.”

 

THE BOOK RELEASE DATE IS SET… NOVEMBER 10, 2014!

Pre-orders available sooner.

Six Steps to Disappearing During Lent: Your Digital Detox Checklist

Image credit: Sabrina Ward Harrison

Image credit: Sabrina Ward Harrison

 

Are you considering giving up social media for Lent this year? If so, here is a six-point digital detox checklist adapted from Baratunde Thurston’s cover article #Unplug in Fast Company.

 

1. DECIDE WHAT YOU ARE GIVING UP AND FOR HOW LONG.

If you want a true digital detox, two weeks is far better than one.

2. WARN EVERYONE. 



Make sure people know how to contact you on your absence. As danah boyd says, “Warnings are the key to happy relationship maintenance.”

3. TURN OFF AUTOMATIC SYNC ON YOUR PHONE.



You can live without notifications from ESPN, Boing Boing, and Mafia Wars for a few days–a couple of weeks even!

4. MANAGE SOCIAL NETWORKS.



You can’t really turn off Facebook, Google+, Instagram, and so on. So use your home page to establish your absence. Take a photo of a stark message like: I Won’t Be Here Until [date of your return]. Use that as your profile photo.

5. ESTABLISH YOUR EMERGENCY EXCEPTIONS.



There must be some way for people to reach you. Set up a clear system with someone you trust, who can have access to your email (if you are giving it up) and social media.

6. TAKE A DEEP BREATH.

Vacate. Completely. It’ll be scary for a day or two. And then it will be awesome.

It’s Elementary

“It doesn’t matter to me who’s Prime Minister or who’s sleeping with who – it’s not important! Listen, this [pointing to brain] is my hard drive and it only makes sense to put things in there that are useful – REALLY useful. Ordinary people fill their heads with all kinds of rubbish and that makes it hard to get at the stuff that really matters. Do you see?”

- BBC’s Sherlock, season 1, episode 3

Digital Detox: Rethinking Our Lives Online

My book Digital Detox: Rethinking Our Lives Online - Cultivating a rich inner and outer existence in the 21st century, will be released from New Society Publishers this fall.

 

Do you wonder about the shape of your life? It is right to wonder. We weren’t born into the world with smartphones in our hands and there won’t be anyone to type our final quip on Twitter upon our death, yet these are the items that dominate our every day.

“It is very difficult to step out of the immediacy, the ‘necessity’ of media and say “maybe I don’t need this” because we believe we have control over their effects because we made these technologies but the truth is we make our technologies and they remake us in their image and for their purposes,” says media ecologist Read Schuchardt.

We live our lives in little silos, faces turned towards iPhones and MacBooks instead of humans. Teens send and receive over 5,000 texts a month. The average adult keeps their smartphone within 3 metres of them 24 hours a day. Our ears are plugged with podcasts and punditry.

There’s no question that technology has overrun our lives. Over the past century, the world has welcomed technological ‘progress’ with arms wide open and we’re living with the clicking, dinging, anxiety-inducing deluge of it. But a creative backlash is underway, helping human beings cope with the avalanche of data that passes in front of most of us every day through the use of computers and cell phones.

Slow food, the back-to-the-land movement, and groups like letter writing clubs are being formed by a new subculture: the 21st century luddite, wielding fountain pen and notebook, and some checking e-mail from the public library a mere hour per week.

I stepped off-line for 31 solid days and chronicled the journey by letter. I was searching for life beyond our steady state of distracted connectedness.

I learned that the smartphone check-ins I made multiple times a day were, in actuality, not time savers but time suckers. That if I, as a mother-of-two, wanted to engage with new ideas, read books, study, create — then I have to save up all of those two minute, one minute, ten minute windows and bank them for things I really want to do. Like write poetry. Phone my Grandma. Skype my sister. Read a book. Stepping off-line caused me to remember that my children are watching and practicing every move I make. Word and deed. For better or worse. As a woman and a writer I discovered peace, a quietness of mind, that I had been hungering for.

Not all of us have the desire or luxury of unplugging this way. What we share, however, is a universal sense that something must be done to rope the nodes in. But what?

Digital Detox examines the implications of a technologically focused life and the dynamic possibilities for those longing to cultivate a richer on and off-line existence. Through historical data, type-written letters, chapter challenges, and personal accounts from prominent artists, broadcasters, and thinkers, the book creates a convincing case for increasing intentionality in our day-to-day lives.

There is life beyond the silo. You can find it. Let this book be your guide.

TEDx: Letting Go of Technology, Pursuing a People-focused Future



I had the privilege of speaking at the inaugural TEDx event in Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood last week. My talk, Letting Go of Technology: Pursuing a People-focused Future explored the themes of technology, discipline and joy. I encouraged attendees at the Munk School of Global Affairs, where the event took place, to use the Internet as one tool out of many — to take it out for a specific purpose and then put it away.

The event was part of the global TEDWomen 2013 conference. This year’s theme was Invented Here. I believe disconnecting from the Internet gives us space to create, allowing us the mental real estate necessary for invention.

[  WATCH THE TALK HERE  ]

With Dr. Laurie Petrou

___________

Hello to any and all new readers who found this site after watching the TEDx clip! Please email me at christina.m.crook [@] gmail.com to get updates now and again about my forthcoming book, articles and other speaking engagements.

Now, go have some fun!