by Geoff Larcom, Published February 21, 2013
YPSILANTI – How many times do you touch your cell phone each day? How many text messages do you send? And, more importantly, what are you missing because your life is so heavily mediated by technology?
Media ecologists at Eastern Michigan University are helping answer these and other important questions by commemorating the National Day of Unplugging on March 1, 2013.
Professor Christine Tracy's JRNL 379 Media Ecology class will be promoting awareness about technological dependence and encouraging the EMU and surrounding community to take a respite from heavy use. They are collecting pledges to unplug, then posting them on a designated Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/unplugemu and staging an unplugged event on Wednesday, February 27 at 5 p.m. in the Multi-Cultural Lounge of King Hall on Ypsilanti campus of Eastern Michigan University.
Reboot, a national group of artists, conceived of the National Day of Unplugging four years ago to encourage hyper-connected people to ritualize a day of rest. "We all need to wake up and become more aware of our mostly unconscious dependence on technology," says Tracy. "A day-long respite is just the first step toward more enlightened use of our digital tools."
Tracy's Media Ecology class will be collecting pledges in the EMU Student Center through Feb. 27. EMU's media ecology students are also using social media, such as Facebook, as well as unmediated means to promote awareness and participation in the event.
They are drafting an "EMU Sabbath Manifesto" and planning ways for the campus to enjoy and appreciate the community building that comes from unplugging.
"It is exciting and important for us to get a glimpse at who and what we could become individually and collectively when we abandon technology and put down our devices - even for a day," says Tracy.
The Unplug EMU event is sponsored by the Journal of Narrative Theory, EMU's Division of Communications and Eastern's Department of English, Language and Literature. Further information is available at https://www.facebook.com/unplugemu . Professor Tracy can be reached at Ctracy1@emich.edu