Last week, I received a text from a good friend that said, “I just want to tell you that I love you bro. It’ll be a while before you hear from me next. I’m going OFF THE GRID!” I didn’t quite know what Joey was talking about, and immediately went to our group chat to see if anybody else knew more about Joey’s “off the grid” adventure. “I love you bro”… what did he have planned for him to shoot me a text like that? Sure, we joke around and say we are boys and that we love each other, but it was a different story for him to type it out and send it to me! We all fired questions at Joey in our group chat: “Joey are you alive?” “Joey don’t do something stupid.” “Joey we are sorry we didn’t pay you last year when you won the fantasy football league.” “Joey please respond!” He never responded to any of these texts, and his “off the grid” expedition seemed to have already begun.
Joey had texted a few other people that day, and we were all trying to understand what was going on. One of my friends suggested he might be going on a trip somewhere. Joey always talked about how much he loved Europe, so we figured he might have booked a spontaneous flight. Another friend suggested he was getting a new phone and that Joey meant he wouldn’t be able to talk for a few days. These were all speculations, and I knew something different was unfolding before us.
Right when we thought Joey was completely out of reach and we were too late, we received a Snapchat from him. It was as if Joey had risen from the dead and there was hope that we would see him again! The Snapchat was maybe two seconds long, and it was a selfie of Joey with the caption, “Ready, Set, Off The Grid.” This would be the last time we heard from Joey for the next four weeks.
Two weeks into this ordeal, one of my friends talked to Joey’s mom and learned some more about what Joey was trying to pull off. We learned that for Joey, going “off the grid” meant no use of social media, no texting unless it was work related, and one phone call every two weeks to his parents. The pieces of the puzzle started to come together, and his lack of social media posts solidified what his mom told us. This also made sense because Joey had always been a person that lived in the moment. He is one of those people that think all technology destroys the personal experiences we have with close friends. We often joked that the best way to get ahold of Joey would be to send a message on horseback, or on the leg of a pigeon. Sure, he used Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat quite a bit, but he would always make sure we all weren’t on our phones when hanging out. Now, his social media usage was nonexistent.
At the end of the four weeks, Joey reached out to me through another text message and said, “Dude that was awesome you have to try it.” According to Joey, going “off the grid,” is life changing. He said human interaction becomes more meaningful, you are more in tune with your surroundings, and your overall happiness increases drastically. He felt as though he was living in the moment to the fullest potential. This was the first time I had ever heard of somebody taking on this challenge, but after doing some research, I’ve discovered it’s more popular than most anticipate.
In today’s society, you might wonder how it could even possible for one to cut off digital communication and social media use. A quick Google search revealed that many people like Joey chose to do this social experiment. Most found the experience to be extremely difficult, but insightful. Several people chose to blog about it, or even post tutorials on how to get through the experience, and learn from it. I think if you tried it, you would be pleasantly surprised with the outcome. I promise it won’t be the end of the world! I think that striving to live in the moment is one of the essential parts to the human experience. This allows one to create a more fulfilling and meaningful life. I encourage all of you to put down the phone for a change, and consider going “off the grid.” It would be smart to do this after Social Media and Digital Business of course!