On September 18th, internet users have been invited to switch off and enjoy a day offline, as part of offlining day. It’s the brain child of New Yorker Eric Yaverbaum, who found himself checking his blackberry over dinner and following conversations on twitter more than the ones happening in front of him in person.
Inspired by the ten days of Rosh Hashana, when Jews look back over the past year and atone for sins before the new year begins, Yaverbaum decided to repent of his digital transgressions. He committed to ten dinners without looking at his blackberry, and then thought up offlining day along the way, teaming up with a advertising exec friend Mark DiMassimo to turn it into a broader campaign.
The website, offlininginc.com, has a pledge to sign and ads to send to friends to invite them to participate. One day doesn’t go very far in breaking a habit, but receiving an invite might be just enough of a hint to friends who are addicted to their online gadgets.
“It’s annoying to be in a room with people, and yet not be really with them,” as DiMassimo says. “My dad’s an electrical engineer, and he’s always said, ‘We invent this stuff to serve us, not for us to serve it.’”
As well as Offlining Day on September 18th, the campaign suggests taking a ‘sabbath’ from online devices once a week.