March 24 is Shutdown Day


Can you imagine not turning on your computer at all for one whole day?

Actually, I can imagine. Many people I know can quite happily go for days without using a computer.

They’re weird, of course :)

I find the idea of Shutdown Day pretty compelling – a grand experiment to find out how many people can go without a computer for one whole day, and what will happen if lots of people participate.

According to the FAQ on the website, the purpose is to get people to think about how their lives have changed with the increasing use of the home computer, how society is changing and whether or not any good things are being lost because of this.

Shutdown Day is tomorrow, Saturday March 24.

I’d intended to participate fully – not turn on my computer nor my mobile phone nor any other gadget during the whole of Saturday.

Well I can’t do that. Weekend work beckons. So instead, this blog will shutdown all day tomorrow.

How about you? Can you shutdown all day?

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. Chip Griffin

    I find things like this to be pretty silly. Do I sometimes yearn for the days when it felt like things were slower and it was easier to “get away from it all”? Sure. But then again I like the fact that I can watch the English Premier League on the Fox Soccer Channel so I can get my soccer (football) fix that here in America is sadly lacking. Or that I can work from home on the weekends rather than having to go into the office like I used to in the days before cell phones, broadband, and laptops. Even my wife, who is not a technology type nor is she a workaholic, has taken to checking her email while on vacation — for purely social reasons.

    So by all means use technology in moderation. But shutting down for a day arbitrarily seems absurd to me.

  2. Armin

    I have to agree with Chip, these days are silly.

    Why don’t have a turn off your fridge day? Or a don’t wear shoes day? Or a don’t brush your teeth day? Or a live in a cave day? Or a don’t use a pen day?

    Hey, there were times when we didn’t have fridges, shoes, toothbrushes, houses or pens…

  3. Garrison

    you know what Nev, I think I could cope with this shut down as it so happens that tomorrow I’m on daddy duties with my toddler, with his cousins.

    So, that was easy ;-)

    Now, how do I shut down this mofo and appear trendy in the process ?

  4. neville

    Chip and Armin, I don’t think this is silly. Really, if I did not have to do some work tomorrow I would shut everything down for one day. No PC, no net, no phone, nothing.

    While I could do this at any time, I rather like the idea of doing this as part of some grand experiment (as the organizers describe it) along with thousands of other people. A sort of a different sense of community. Something quite compelling reading on the website all the reasons people are giving for why or why not they’ll be part of Shutdown Day.

    Heh! A bit like Twitter ;)

    Garrison, that just makes it all dead easy!

  5. Garrison

    But Nev, how do I shut it down, so that people know I’ve shut it down? I’m just about to showcase a former Manchurian hunting lodge next to the Great Wall, and don’t want it to get lost in the shutdown period.

    Easy? When dealing with toddlers it’s never easy but an easy cop out in the scheme of things on-line, if you know what I mean ;-)

  6. Shel Holtz

    I’m with Chip and Armin. Silly, silly, silly.

    I just imagine somebody in England in 1795 nailing posters to trees and walls declaring a “Shut Down Day” for textile mills and iron smelters and the other engines of the industrial revolution. Or how about “No Typewriting Day” in 1899?

    Oh, please.

  7. Chris Marritt

    I’m with Stuart on this one: yes it would be easy, but – oh look – it’s Saturday already (in fact, it’s nearly Sunday).
    As for the sense of community, I’m not convinced that really works if everyone finds it quite easy.
    I suspect in this case, the scope isn’t ambitious enough.
    If someone asked me to shutdown the computer, but also switch my mobile off, not watch TV or listen to the radio and possibly not use landline phones, then it would be a challenge worth doing – and with that extra challenge would come an identification with other people doing the same. Thus, a sense of community.
    Anyone fancy a No Telecoms Day?

  8. Clarence Jones

    While I have no problem with others observing a ‘Shutdown Day’, I’m trying to take advantage of the minimized traffic in the Internet’s Tubes. More bandwidth for me!! Ahhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa…

    Love & Peace, Clarence

  9. neville

    Heh! A good way to look at it, Clarence.

    The Shutdown Day website is currently closed (they said they’re taking Sunday off, too) so can’t yet see what they say the results are.

    Interesting, though, they’re planning to support a non-profit for the next one. Now that may well make it more appealing for all you skeptics here!

  10. Kami Huyse

    Hey look, I participated and didn’t even know that I was. What did I do all day? I pulled weeds in my yard that sprung up to my knees with our Spring rains. Not all that different from weeding out spam from my inbox. :-)

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