The Off Position

Seattle Times reporter Nick Perry looks at an academic response to our always-on media culture.

It’s tough tuning out in today’s world. Just ask a dozen communications students at Seattle University who attempted a 96-hour media-deprivation experiment:
No listening to iPods or car radios. No checking e-mail. No chatting on cell phones. No surfing Web sites such as MySpace or Facebook. No watching “Desperate Housewives” or “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.”

The professor of “Restorative Solitude” at the Jesuit school originally wanted a week in the off position, but agreed to four days after complaints from her students.
In related news, an activist group called Shutdown Day is lobbying for one day free of computing. So far, nealry 20,000 people say they will participate in the experiment.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.