It’s a blessing that my professional life is so closely connected to my personal interests. But it’s also exhausting.

By day I manage the online presence of a public broadcasting station. I promote local TV and radio programs and community events. I develop and edit content and write scripts. I produce faculty interviews and educational forums. I compress videos and author DVDs. I initiate online chats and implement Flash slideshows.

And how do I spend the remainder of my waking hours?

I blog here about newlywed life, and I share food stories and post recipes on The Culinary Couple. I told our wedding story on EAD, and I contribute to the Harrisburg Examiner.

I track my runs on Nike+, and I keep in touch with my family on Skype. I share videos on both YouTube and Vimeo. I have accounts with StumbleUpon and Digg and Newsvine, and I’m connected on LinkedIn.

On delicious, I bookmark my favorite finds and tag them as crafting, data visualization, ecofriendly, fitness, font, gocco, HTML, jQuery, photography, public media, recipes, travel, typography, usability.

I subscribe to over 200 blogs in categories like cooking, baking, design, technology, photography, and social commentary. My Google Reader has not been clear for months.

There is undeniable overlap. I create media. I consume media. I am always immersed in media.

I have a personal Facebook page, and I administer five group pages. I have a personal Twitter account, and I tweet to one professional account.

I’ve been uploading photos to Flickr since 2004, and I recently set up a stream for my station.

I manage no less than six public media websites, and there are always new projects on the horizon. On the side, I maintain four websites for freelance clients.

I feel pressure to be plugged in all hours of the day. It’s an ever-evolving environment, and — GASP — what if I miss something?

What if I don’t check-in on Foursquare or connect via Ning? What if I don’t understand the difference between TweetDeck and HootSuite? What if I don’t use Tumblr or Posterous? What if I don’t share my music preferences on Last.fm or post my restaurant reviews on Yelp? What if I don’t track trends on Slashdot or Mashable?

What then? Nothing. That’s what.


Life will go on. Just as it did when Nick and I both completely unplugged for an entire week last August. No iPhones. No MacBooks. No worries.

I need to make more of an effort to disconnect from technology and reconnect with real life. Do you agree? How do you manage?

15 thoughts on “Unplugged

  1. Oh man, I am overwhelmed, even a little scared to be honest… Looks like I am way far behind or you are very far ahead. Be that as it may, one question remains: Will I get a relaxed Emily in September? 🙂 We have different plug-ins over here and I will try my best to keep you unplugged over here. No adapter allowed…

  2. Oh my gosh, Emily, just reading that made me exhausted!

    Like you, I work online and with social media at work, and I have my own for-fun blog. But even with just that, I’ve been thinking about the time I spend online in my off hours. If it’s productive, fun, and engaging, or just a time suck…or worse, something I feel like I should do instead of want to do.

  3. Unplugged for a week, I think I need to do this. I know it would be hard, seeing as I spend everyday on the computer. I may become unplugged after 5 when I get off from work. I feel I watch too much tv and I’m quite addicted to my new Iphone. lol I think I will try this.
    And how did I miss ”The Culinary Couple” ~ Love it.

  4. Man, now im exhausted thinking about how plugged in we are. I can’t wait to spend my week unplugged 🙂

    Oh, don’t forget the g-chat. Because heaven forbid I don’t talk to my man and friends throughout the day.

  5. wow, just WOW. This post is awesome.
    I was reading and I felt like you were describing me. I am ADDICTED to social networking, checking it, LITERALLY the moment I wake up, and immediately before bed.

    You’re so right. Scheduled unpluggings should be part of our life…

    And that SAD fear about missing something?! Really!? You’re just spot on…

    great post, emily. 😀

  6. I meditate through action so working out is wonderful. I’m obsessed with power yoga. No cell phones allowed. Hiking and camping are great escapes I take advantage of. I too live in the computer most days of the week, but I find weekend trips and personal projects (like a photo series or hiding away in the woods) also is helpful in unplugging. If I don’t get out I feel like a drone.

    I actually did a whole month without a computer/cell when I lived in Guatemala. I was doing volunteer work in San Lucas Toliman. Took a week of “withdrawal” and then I was fine. Didn’t miss television or anything. So relieving. When I got back, it took a two or three days to acclimate and catch up on school work and personal emails. Sometimes I wish I had the ability to snap back to the “unplugged” feeling. The memory has faded. *sigh*

  7. Emily, I LOVE this post. It’s so real about the ways in which so many of us are overplugged and overwhelmed. I don’t have any answers for you, just a knowing nod because I very much identify with so much of this. We’re going on a little European getaway Friday night for nine days, and the thought of being without all of these distractions that I so enjoy is utterly freeing. Maybe I’ll have a panic attack and look for plugs while I’m there, but at this moment, with a To Do list a mile long and my lack of a blog post today on the brain, it feels amazing. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and I wish you luck on the perennial search for inner (plugless) peace!

  8. I figured this post would resonate with a lot of you. Thanks for your comments! It’s comforting to know I’m not alone, but troubling to think there are so many of us who feel pressure to always be plugged in.

    I’m counting down the weeks until our “unplugged” June getaway. I hope you can all find time to take a break, too!

  9. Love this post. My husband and I try to unplug as much as we can during the week but it’s hard! Especially with those dang iphones always nearby….

    And thanks for telling me about Nike+ run tracking! Genius!

  10. This past week I was gone for less then 48 hours but I didn’t bring my laptop…this has not happened in the last 7 years. I always take my laptop everywhere! It was a freeing feeling and I found I didn’t need it as much as I think I do. Those technology free breaks are important!

  11. I am with you, Emily! I didn’t realize how ‘plugged in’ I was until my school computer was taken away from me for maternity leave. I am going through withdrawal! I think I’m mourning my computer. Luckily I have a nice hubby who lets me share his. Although it’s probably more so he doesn’t have to deal with a hormonal computerless pregnant lady haha!

  12. I am so glad for this post especially after I was pretty unplugged last week. It was awesome and I loved having that time with B! 🙂 Glad you think about it and you and I are like the same in our jobs!

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