Monday, 23 January 2012


I know I'm not the only person who's experienced such a moment: you see an article in a magazine or newspaper titled something along the lines of "Ten Signs You are Addicted to Technology." At first, you dismiss the piece, thinking it could never apply to you. But you later catch yourself sneaking a quick look, just to make sure.

In a world where the greatest gadgets and computers are more than mere tools: There are like living things themselves, making our own lives revolve around them: routine Facebook check-ins, Twitter updates and vicious rounds of Angry Birds on your smartphone.

With this great technological shift, a backlash has come through the form of a new movement called 'The Slow Movement' described as a 'call for quiet calm in a world that is moving faster and faster.' How is such a zen-like approach to digital networks constructive? After all, isn't the point of technology to make our lives more efficient?

However, a world which gives us the ease of logging in and staying connected comes with a price: computers and mobile phones have become as addictive as a pack of cigarettes.

Almost like the 21st century's comfort blanket, the thought of detaching ourselves leaves us feeling so anxious and stressed that psychologists have even come up with the term for this condition: discomgoogolation.

A survey also found 76 percent of Britons could not live without the Internet, with over half of the population using the web between one and four hours a day and 19 percent of people spending more time online than with their family in a week.

Modern technology has arguably become one of the leading contributing factors of divorce, along with money, sex and parenting. We could all use some time a week where you shut off the technology. 

Slow Tech not only encourages this 'unplugging', it values more subtle interactions with technology.

A new project based in London is organizing a club where members are encouraged to engage in activities like meditation and art appreciation, limiting or obfuscating their Internet usage, reminding us to stop and smell the roses. A recent exhibition in London showcased the work of several slow tech designers. One of them, called Screen Time, created by Hector Serrano was a real-time pie chart documenting the time you spend on social networking. The great thing about this watch is that it raises awareness of how much time there is left in a day for real  social interaction.

In my own New Year's Resolutions to confront my online addiction, I even attempted to switch off my laptop at 9pm for a week. I failed miserably. This all too real shift has already crashed our economy twice, changed the ways we educate ourselves, entertain and socialize with one another. Yet, so far, we have very little understanding of what is happening to us and how to cope. 

Who has the time to consider much else, and who is going to pay for it? 

But it's a conversation worth talking about. So let's. 

The Slow Tech:  fad -or - full on movement?