Taking on the Amish Project

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By: Alex John

Could you go 90 days without technology? If you gave up your Facebook, Twitter, email and cell phone, do you think you could handle it?
Well, one man put it to the test and what he lost in technology, he gained in life.  Jake Reilly, a 24 year-old student at the Chicago Portfolio School,  recently started what he calls the “Amish Project.”  He gave his phone away, deactivated all of his social media sites and only checked his email for bills or school. And guess what? He not only survived, but also won back his girlfriend.
Before reading this article, I had thought of doing a similar thing: just delete everything and live my life, but it turns out it’s not that simple. Numerous times I made a vow to deactivate all of my social media, but it totally backfired, which is really embarrassing, because I’ve always considered myself ‘not one of those people.’ It turns out I am!
The “Amish Project” highlighted the fact that without this easy access, it was actually more fun to get in touch with people. He received handwritten notes, letters and had rocks thrown at his window.
Reading of this experiment really opened my eyes. While I’m not tech-obsessed person, I do have a Twitter and a blog, which is tame compare to most of my classmates.  I deleted my Facebook the minute I realized I could tell my mom details of someone’s life without actually having talked to them in months.
Our generation has relied on these outlets to do our socializing for us.
However, I don’t mean to completely trash social media. It can be a great thing. I can talk to my family in Minnesota, and reunite with old childhood friends that moved away. Employers can use your page to reflect positively on who you are, or to get to know you before the interview.
This article is also not a ‘What Not to Do’ on the Internet. At this point I think we should know. I am simply asking my fellow classmates to appreciate human interactions.
We’re all guilty of this. I can chat with someone for hours online, but rarely take the time to see him or her in person. If it takes as long to interact with them online, why not take the time to actually see them?
When was the last time you sought out a friend by actually going to their apartment? Or wrote a letter to your grandmother? Or took the time to reconnect with family in person?
Our addiction to technology is also terrible for our time management. I’m always hearing of people pulling all-nighters, being stressed to the max, running late, or breaking down all together. The time we take to check our Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, Pinterest, and Formspring pages could be used to get important things done, keeping our stress levels low.
Just by deleting my Facebook, my life has become much less hectic. Homework actually gets done when it needs to and I can get enough sleep so I’m not a walking zombie.
The “Amish Project” has truly inspired me. While I can’t delete my email or ignore my online class, I am trying to unplug at least one day a week. Starting with that day of rest, maybe it could progress.  Who knows?
Email: anjohn@radford.edu

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