A kid selling lemonade told me to “put my phone away and live my life”
I went with my dad to the Wolfe Island Music Festival a few weeks ago. The Wolfe Island Music Festival is a small, unpretentious festival off the coast Kingston that always seems to showcase up and coming talent in a charmingly rural, small town setting (in case you’re curious, dad and I agreed that this year’s stand out performances came from Alvvays and Cousins). Instead of RFID enabled wristbands and aloof hipsters hoping to get snapped by fashion bloggers, the festival maintains a relatively low-key vibe based on its location and diverse line up. Having been at Veld with Bacardi the weekend prior, the relaxed atmosphere and absence of young people wearing neon underwear as outwear was a refreshing change.
As we walked from the ferry to the festival grounds, we passed an entrepreneurial young lady who looked to be about 10 years old and had set up lemonade stand on the side of the road. The sign, written in curling pre-teen cursive, spelled out a strict policy and provided some sage wisdom for her customers: “No photos or videos allowed! Put your phone away and LIVE YOUR LIFE!” The sign made me, a) smile, b) know the kids are alright, and c) relate. Contrary to popular opinion, working in social media doesn’t mean I am addicted to social media – in fact, because I am professionally expectedly to constantly be monitoring things happening online, it sometimes creates an overwhelming desire to throw my phone under a streetcar. Turns out I, like our lemonade vendor, am not alone. Below are businesses and services that have popped up to help us untether ourselves from the digital world:
Anderson Valley, California is the site of an adult-friendly summer camp where digital technology is strictly banned – even the photography is done only on analog cameras. Other activities include rock climbing, campfires, live music, stargazing, survival skills, and hiking.
Brazilian beer brand Polar developed a special beer bottle casing that blocks signal within 1.5 meters, effectively forcing you to engage with the company you’re with.
Slip your smartphone into this simple fabric pouch and it effectively blocks your signal. (While you could just, you know, turn your phone off – this minimal-chic product was for sale at the MoMA, which is just soooo much cooler than simply turning off your phone, right?)
Ready to unplug? Perf, now you just need a way to manage those pesky notifications in your absence. Relaxed is a service that allows you to set auto-reply away messages on Facebook and Twitter, helpfully decreasing the annoyance-factor among your friends and followers who are trying to reach you.