I spent nearly 10 years researching and experimenting with healthy connectivity habits for my book, Log Off: How to Stay Connected after Disconnecting. The book contains dozens or reports and studies from “real news” outlets and distinguished universities from around the world, all of which conclude that excessive internet, social media, and/or smartphone use make us miserable. More specifically, overuse makes us more isolated, less confident, prevents us from experiencing the more stimulating analog world, and even dumber.
But recent research suggests that digital abuse may be even worse for us than originally thought. In an eye-opening expose this week, The Atlantic reported on the rise of sexual recession, in which young people are engaging in fewer intimate relationships than ever before and marrying less. Excessive phone use shoulder much, if not all, of the blame, the magazine reports. Continue reading…
In his first book, recognized journalist Blake Snow offers humorous, well-researched, and insightful advice on how to break free and enjoy renewed life offline
Provo, UT (December 19, 2017) – Do you or someone you know need a little help unplugging this holiday or new year? If so, Log Off: How To Stay Connected After Disconnecting by Blake Snow (ISBN 978-1973543749, 2017) may have the answer and is available now at the world’s largest bookstore in paperback, ebook, and audiobook editions.
The self-help memoir and well-researched book is the first for Snow, a prolific writer for such publications as Wired, USA Today, CNN, and Wall Street Journal among others. The book produces convincing evidence and a path forward for people hoping to reclaim their offline lives without the constant distraction and “fear of missing out” caused by the internet, social media, and smartphones.
“With Facebook recently admitting as much, it’s official,” says Blake Snow, author of Log Off: How To Stay Connected After Disconnecting. “Excessive use of smartphones, the internet, and social media makes us miserable. Although I wrote this life-changing book for myself, I feel strongly that the ideas and encouragement contained therein can help others find greater fulfillment, peace of mind, and better relationships after responsibly logging off.”
In this quick but potent read, Snow recounts his own journey from being a workaholic internet addict, his awakening (aka “Montana Moment”), and the steps he has since taken to increase his facetime with actual people, do more offline with less online, double his productivity in half the time, and tunefully blend his analog and digital lives with no regrets. Continue reading…
Constantly checking your wrist watch is less rude and less distracting than constantly checking your smartphone. It might even improve your life.
Or so says a report from Wired on why Apple chose to manufacture the forthcoming iWatch, which serves as a second, more accessible screen for your iPocket, I mean iPhone.
“Your phone is ruining your life,” writes David Pierce, who, like many others, ignorantly blames the object instead of the abuser. Rather than setting boundaries on his technology, Pierce and others like him egotistically search for reasons to be elsewhere in thought and suffer the consequence. Continue reading…
“I really wish I spent more time on my phone,” said no one ever. I doubt anyone will.
And yet, many of us can’t resist the Kavorka of our phones, in times of idleness or activity. What’s a modern human to do?
Don’t worry, Internet denizens. I got you. After five years on a lean, enlivening, and offline-rich phone diet, here are eight things you can do right now to put your phone in check, free yourself from its compulsive clutches, and live in the moment: Continue reading…
I don’t know if falling in love is more challenging today than it was before. But it can’t be easy with the constant allure, cover, and distraction of smartphones.
Case in point: I saw a guy macking on a girl recently—or at least trying to. He was obviously interested; his attention undivided. She was preoccupied with her phone, however. She occasionally rejoined his advances with peppered smiles and words, but she mostly focused her attention on the tarot card-sized device she cradled in hand and poked at with thumbs.
From a distance, I couldn’t tell if she was coping with embarrassment behind her phone, considering a counter-flirt, or not at all interested. If I had to guess, I’d bet on the latter because newly crushing or in love couples usually stay fixated on each other’s eyes. Of course, interested males are horrible at deciphering this universal truth — always have been, always will, with or without smartphones. But I know first-hand how complicating phones can be to loving relationships. Continue reading…
My latest for Fox News: Why the death of the PC is a myth
“I see the way people use smartphones as a phenomenon that looks to me like a publicly-accepted decline in the way people interact with each other.”—Peter Cohen via Josh Steimle
A client recently asked for links to some of my favorite personal writings. This is what I sent him:
Photo credit: Sara Snow
Read it here: Life after smartphones—What’s next?
Rachel Stafford recently shared some awesome tips on how to neglect your children. Here are some of my favorites:
- Keep your phone turned on at all times of the day. Allow the rings, beeps, and buzzes to interrupt your child midsentence; always let the caller take priority. Continue reading…
Editor’s note: The Anti-Technologist is a new column by Blake Snow. It advocates late adoption of consumer technology and expels the wonders of finding offline balance in an online world.
I’m convinced that cellular data plans will someday replace the broadband cable lines most of us still use to access the internet. I also think data plans are great for mobile workers, extended-stay vacationers, or anyone else who doesn’t have access to the internet for the entirety of the work day.
I also know, however, that the last four years of my life after quitting my data plan have been irreversibly better than the four previous years in which I subscribed to a plan. The reason I abandoned the portable internet? In short, I did it because I was tired of being on a self-imposed work leash. That and the “always there” internet didn’t mesh well with my indulgent lust for information. So I cut it.
A lot of people I encounter are surprised by this, mostly because the mainstream view incorrectly assumes that staying on an internet-connected smartphone for extended periods lets you get ahead in life (i.e. make more money). It doesn’t. It’s just an illusion. In fact, all-day internetting actually leads to less inspired work, since obsessive users are never able to truly break away, recharge their batteries, and return to work with a hungry mind.
Nevertheless, smartphones are still great, even on dumb plans like mine. Here’s why: Continue reading…
After six (sometimes) productive years, I abandoned the sinking ship that is BlackBerry last week. In it’s place, I upgraded to the “magical,” status-enhancing iPhone.
As early adopters discovered a few years ago, it’s more than a phone: it’s the greatest piece of personal technology ever invented. Phone, texter, navigator, iPod, mini TV, game console, digital assistant, e-reader, and tiny computer all in one. Not only did it serve as the inspiration for the more popular Android clone, the iPhone is the more organic and less painful version of touchscreen phones, i.e. not unlike what Macs often are to Windows machines.
Of course, like all smartphones, the iPhone can be a total drag on your analog life if you don’t set limits. (In my case, that means shunning a data plan, turning off all alerts except for voice calls, staying away from it as much as possible on nights and weekends, and only connecting to the internet when I need it, as opposed to the more common always-on, always wired, and always distracting “push” internet mode. More on that in my forthcoming book.)
But the iPhone gets a whole lot more right than it gets wrong. In fact, I count only three usability flaws on the device: Continue reading…
Using iOS is still less of a pain than using Android. That is, the form is still better.
But that doesn’t change the fact that the attached ad is incredibly effective in speaking to the majority of smartphone users who don’t appreciate, nor do they want to associate with, the millions of off-putting Apple fans parodied above.
In any case, wouldn’t it be great if phones could go back to being useful tools rather than modern day golden calves?
… on the impending irrelevance of Blackberry. This coming from a six-year Blackberry user (but I’m in the minority, and only use it for texting and voice calls now — no portable apps or Internet for me).
In other words, I use a dumbed down smartphone, so I’m not a target candidate.
Samsung sponsored this guy Kenton Cool (awesome name) to summit Mount Everest for a ninth time this month. In exchange, the company had him place the first cell phone call ever from the highest point on Earth, to his wife. What a moment.
My latest for Fox & Friends.
That, and it makes excellent use of In the Hall of the Mountain King. Unfortunately, self-discipline is the only way “to save us from our phones,” not another phone. Canceling your data plan helps too. But you gotta mind those texts as well.
Update: As of 2013, data is now included with my cell phone plan. But thanks to my four year break from it, mobile data no longer interrupts my life like it use to. When used sparingly, it actually enhances it.
A year ago this week, I canceled my data plan. The unexpected catalyst was an awesome trip to Montana. After being tied to my Blackberry for four years, here are 10 observations of “my rebirth” into mobile obscurity:
- My quality of life has improved while productivity has remained constant. By that I mean I get as much done as I did before, only now I enjoy a lot more personal time without work interfering. In many cases, that translates into greater productivity upon returning to work the next morning or after the weekend. Believe it or not.
- My relationship with my wife and children has improved. I recognize them more. I play with them more. With fewer alerts to interrupt us, it’s a lot more fun now.
- Email still waits for me on my computer. Continue reading…
Courtesy of Joey Reiman for Pink Magazine, published in 2005:
- Thou shalt not take the BlackBerry to any table with food on it or family around it. A BlackBerry is not a fruit, nor does it come from a tree.
- Thou shalt not use the BlackBerry as reading material in the event of insomnia. It will only worsen your situation.
- Thou shalt not BlackBerry in lieu of responding to a child’s request (e.g., “Wait a second, I’m reading something.”).
- Thou shalt not place the BlackBerry within distance of hearing its incessant beeps while at home. It is not a bird.
- Thou shalt not check BlackBerry as if it were your baby. It will not cry or stop breathing.
- Thou shalt not confuse number of e-mails with self-worth.
- Thou shalt do everything possible to misplace your BlackBerry on weekends.
- Thou shalt remember that a BlackBerry is not a body appendage. It is a device that belongs in your briefcase or on your desk, and not in social settings.
- Thou shalt refrain from bringing the BlackBerry to events involving family interaction. Extraneous dialogue with this contraption in lieu of real conversation suggests addiction.
- Thou shalt never, ever, ever bring the BlackBerry to bed.
Since canceling my data plan last year, I haven’t broken any of these. (Thanks, Josh)
I wrote on article on cell phone abuse, to be published on GigaOM, and was unable to use the following, which I thought was rather insightful:
“When cell phones were first introduced, they were expensive and obtrusive,” says Dr. Lisa Merlo, professor of psychology at the University of Florida. “As a result, the people who had them and used them did so for ‘important’ reasons. For example, physicians might have a cell phone while on-call. So, people excused the rudeness associated with talking on a cell phone because there was a legitimate reason for doing so. However, cell phones have become ubiquitous, and the rules have not changed to accommodate this.”
From the latest issue of Wired:
Let’s be clear: Walking around with a Bluetooth device in your ear is pure douchebaggery. There is no excuse for it… If you’re out among normals, flaunting your tech doesn’t make you look like the King of Coolsville, it makes you look like Count Clueless of Dorkylvania.
That’s what I said.
I’ve been an avid BlackBerry user since 2006. I think they’re great if you can moderate their use. (You don’t want to be the loser in the room who plays with their phone all night, right?) But I would also like to see some changes for the better. And becoming an iPhone is not one of them.
- Multi-color LED alerts. One of the best features of the BlackBerry is the ability to glance at it from afar without activating the screen to see if you have an unread message. For example, the little LED in the upper right corner blinks red when I have a new message. But I wish I could set different types of messages to display different color alerts. For example, the Curve’s LED blinks blue when in Blue Tooth mode, and green when fully charged. Why not put those colors to good use?
- Continue reading…
My Blackberry inexplicably died on Saturday afternoon while napping on the kitchen counter. Two years of age seemingly put the kibosh on the device’s ability to connect to T-mobile.
So I called T-mobile to solve the issue. It turned out my phone had in fact died and was no longer under warranty. I would need to buy a new phone.
Reality bearing down, I decided to do what I’ve done so many times to successful results as a consumer: ask if my continued business would be worth an exception — in this case having to fork over $100 for a replacement.
“You’ve been with us a long time, Mr. Snow,” the last manager happily said over the phone. “We’ll send out a new phone right away (read: your $1200/year cell phone account is worth a $100 concession).”
Half of life is simply asking.
I got to thinking today of the popularity of cell phones and just how intrusive they have become in our lives. I stopped to think when I bought my first plan. Technically, I bought a prepaid cell phone back in 2001 for my mother sorta as a family phone when I worked for Cingular. But I didn’t get my own plan until 2003 (call me a late bloomer). So…
I dislike cell phones. I do enjoy how they allow people to stay aurally connected just about anywhere, but I dislike them so much that I held off on purchasing one until a mere four years ago in 2002. They just seem too obtrusive (like my BlackBerry isn’t, right?). Regardless, I really liked what Paul Allen had to say on cell phones in his recent interview with Business Q: “I’ve had my phone on ‘vibrate’ for 10 years. I’ve never interrupted a meeting. Why can’t everyone one put their phones on vibrate?”
Amen to that. Just last week, Lindsey and I had some guests over for dinner. While eating, a cell phone rang and one of the guest answered it and began talking on the line during the meal. They didn’t even bother to excuse them self and take the call into another room. Now I know emergencies happen, but they can’t make up more than 1% of mobile calls.
Call me old-fashioned, but what’s the rush in answering cell phones? Are we really that important? And please, everyone put their phones on vibrate, and at the least, don’t answer them during dinner.