Wednesday, May 28, 2014

To Suck Life’s Sweet Marrow, Dumb Down the Phone

The Vigilante Phone Challenge

My friend Dana Sherwood is a financial services guru who leverages her digital prowess both in her career and personally for fun. She has a lot of friends and even more colleagues. So when she posted a Facebook video a couple weeks back which proffers that as a whole generation, we are collectively missing out on life by looking down at our phones, it struck me as a dramatic change of heart. Like Anthony Bourdain swearing off pork. But then I watched the video and it struck such a chord that I feel the need to act. I implore you, your kids and everyone you know to watch this film. The video is called Look Up and was written and directed by Gary Turk, an English filmmaker. Naturally, the film went viral. (Yes, the irony of its dissemination is not lost.)

This is not my first rant about cell phones. Not looking up is something we accept as a part of our new reality because we’re all complacent in the technology we swim in: heads down, connecting via these tiny glowing screens while the actual real world passes us by, unnoticed and tuned-out. I immediately felt that Dana and I had a project brewing,  a project about being “social without Social” as Dana calls it. This is the new regimen we committed to following for a month, taking note of how it impacts our lives: (1) Making/ receiving iPhone calls is OK, (2) Texts OK (preferably just once a day to respond), (3) ALL other email, social media apps are OFF.  In essence, one’s phone becomes a dumb phone for a month –and if a dire need to reference something on Google or check in with Facebook arises, do it while you’re back sitting at a computer. Not on your smart phone. For one month, Dana and I have agreed to take this challenge. Would you like to join us? Who knows what magic awaits us in looking up. I plan to carry a cute little Moleskin notebook. We’ll check in afterward with our experiences and observations. Let’s look up!


  1. Lisa Guillot says:

    Smart phones and dumb people. I totally get it! I fall victim to my phone everyday! And I feel terrible doing it when I am suppose to be engaged with my children. I’ll take UP the put your phone DOWN pledge! At least on tuesdays and thursdays when I am home with my kids. And maybe the weekends except during nap time. (I am trying to be realistic:)

    Thank you for sharing this Olivia!

    Lisa @stepbrightly

    • Lisa, you are brave to take this on! It’s hard to leave your business email behind… I can vouch, however, after just one week’s practice of this, that my life is significantly improved! There is actually so little use for my phone. I only get a few calls per day & the texts feel like “events”. I feel liberated & I’ve noticed myself writing down things my children say (in a notebook) — I had been significantly checked out, I do believe. Let me know how it all manifests for you.

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