The Politics of Unplugging

How a Break From Media Creates a Healthier Political Climate

We debated posting anything about politics since the beginning of the Unplug Project. It is an area we have purposefully wanted to avoid due to the decisiveness of the topic – no matter where you might be on the political spectrum. While we wish to remain neutral on the issues of government, policy, social issues, and public commentary, we do believe a healthy balance of information flow and media consumption is important for everyone’s well being.

Taking a digital detox and unplugging during chaotic moments of political division can not only reduce stress, but also help put the issues of the day into a better, more positive, perspective.

Some of you may respond to the idea of unplugging during times of political change in a negative way, suggesting we are encouraging you to be silent on issues you may hold very personal.  To this we simply ask you to listen and be open to the idea of taking a small step back to see the bigger picture that includes all of us. Unplugging is not silence.

The Information Overdose Problem of Social Media

Just like anything you might enjoy, too much of that item can cause you to spoil on your desire for it. The same will hold true for politics, information consumption, and debate with others. A healthy conversation about the politics of the day can always be an enjoyable pastime, but it should not consume every aspect of your day. If you’re exclusively thinking about, posting about, and reading about politics during your time online you will ultimately face an overdose situation where it becomes unhealthy.

We Are All Humans

We live in the greatest intellectual time in the history of the world where the freedom to express our individual identities has never been easier. In this moment, we all still have a set of basic human needs: food, water, shelter. But one aspects of our humanity often overlooked is the fundamental need to be heard.  Beyond that ideas and thoughts that live in our brains and on our social channels, we are all fundamentally equal in our humanity – in our frailty.  We have equal abilities to love as we do to hate, listen as we do shout, and critique as we do to empathize.

What Is Most Important To Your Happiness

If we asked each of you to mentally catalog and rank the items and activities that give you the greatest happiness we would be shocked if anyone selected “divisive politics” as your top joy. Most would chose family, friends, hobbies, or other fulfilling activities. It’s totally acceptable to add a vice or two to your list – provided it is in moderation.  The same should hold true of your consumption of media and politics.  If your time was measured like a bank account, how would you spend it?  Where would you get your greatest return on happiness?  Unplug for a moment and invest in those activities to see how you feel.

Politics Should Be Boring

We believe it is completely acceptable to disagree with someone’s political position, but still think they are a good human. Politics should be about ideas, not personalities – issues often conflated on social media channels. In a representative democracy, politics should be boring.  Our elected officials are tasked the with duty debating issues of policy and government so the rest of us can carry about our lives in peace.  Unfortunately, far too many people have become deeply interested and active in the nuances of everyday government that our media channels have become obsessed with taking sides.

Media Blackout Approach

There are times when a media blackout is necessary.  You’re not likely to miss out on anything important. Imagine you’ve been looking forward to a television show, sporting event, or broadcast activity that you simply cannot experience live due to conflicting schedules.  If you record it on your DVR you can still enjoy the activity and experience the outcome without being there live.  The only issue is if you accidentally learn the result of the sports score, reality television show vote, or secret twist or reveal of the program you wanted to experience live.

We always encourage a media blackout approach to protecting that experience – no radio, social media, television, etc.  Eliminate any chance someone may accidentally ruin the ending of the story for you.  The same holds true of social media, radio, television, etc. during moments of intense political conflict – going offline doesn’t mean missing it, it just means that you’ll get to experience it on your own time.

Taking A Break

All of this is to say, “It’s ok to take a break from media.” Unplugging is not an abandonment of your beliefs an ideals during these times of change, but rather a reinforcement of your desire to make yourself, and those around you, happier and healthier.


Leave a comment