William Powers Lecture

A group of us attended a talk about the future of technology led by William Powers, the author of the New York Times best seller, Hamlet’s Blackberry: Building a Good Life in the Digital Age. I couldn’t believe how many people showed up–we arrived maybe 10 minutes before the talk began and had to sit on the floor in the back! It was a very interesting discussion, however, so we didn’t mind.

Benjy, Claire and me after the William Powers lecture

His message wasn’t anything new—we spend too much time plugged in—but what I found most interesting was his family’s idea of an Internet Sabbath. Basically, his family does not use the Internet on weekends, instead using that time to spend with each other.

I definitely like the concept, but I don’t think it’s a very realistic one for everyone. It’s good for Powers’s family, but I think it’s too extreme for most people. I wish I could say I could shut down my laptop on Friday afternoon and not use it again until Monday, but I feel like I would get so behind. In this digital world, we rely so much on communicating via email and social network sites. Maybe the best solution, at least for me, would be to limit my Internet usage.

During the week, I could limit my Facebook use. Instead of leaving Facebook up on a tab, I could avoid logging in until after my homework was done. On weekends, I could limit the amount of time I spend checking emails. It’s hard to avoid emails because that’s how I keep in touch with professors and up to date with clubs and activities. Over the summer, I can go without checking my emails for a few days, but during the school year, I’ll miss important things if I ignore them.

Even though technology is most certainly a large part of our lives, it’s important not to lose touch of our physical relationships with others. We are more than what our Facebook profiles show, and I hope that our relationships with others don’t one day become confined to the Internet. By taking an Internet Sabbath every once in a while, or even just limiting our Internet use, we can maintain a good balance of the digital world and the real world.

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