Open Thinkering


Tag: digital


I’ve seen plenty of weak signals over the past few months/years about people taking time to unplug for a day at the weekend. Some people do it on Saturdays, others on Sundays. I think I’d prefer Saturdays but, realistically, it’s the day I get my newsletter written (which then goes out Sunday morning UK time).

So this week I tried a ‘screen-free Sunday’. Well, kind of. The fact that I’m typing this via my laptop demonstrates my lack of commitment to the letter of the self-imposed law. But the spirit of it was there at least. From around 10pm last night until 7.30pm tonight I didn’t use screens. So no playing FIFA15 with my son; no helping my daughter with the CBeebies app; no checking my Twitter timeline; and I couldn’t “just look up” for my wife the gym opening hours.

Things I’ve done over the past 24 hours I haven’t done for a while:

  • Written in my dead-tree diary with a pen
  • Studied an Ordnance Survey Map closely
  • Visited an historic monument with the family on the spur of the moment

It’s crazy to think how entwined interactive screens are with our everyday lives. I’m not saying that’s a good or a bad thing. It’s just a fact. So I’m going to try and take 24 hours off screens every week. As with this weekend, that will probably mean turning my laptop(s) and mobile phone off at some point during Saturday evening and not turning them on again until Sunday evening.

Do you go screen-free at certain times? Have you found it helpful? How?

Image CC BY-NC Ashley Brown

10 things I did during Belshaw Black Ops.

For the past three weeks I’ve been on Black Ops, a better term than ‘digital hiatus’ to describe my being digitally incommunicado. It’s felt like longer, to be honest. I managed to stay off Twitter completely – the occasional, accidental, and hastily-deleted autopost from Amplify notwithstanding.

Email was a different story: although I had a ‘Black Ops’ autoresponder on my Gmail account, I had to use email for some of the following activities.

Here’s a list of what I’ve been up to:

  1. Collated and published Best of Belshaw 2010 (freely downloadable or available for purchase in physical form at cost price)
  2. Waited patiently for Hannah to give birth to our second child. She was due on the 28th December 2010, but still no sign. It’s the reason I’m not at the Learning Without Frontiers Conference today/tomorrow.
  3. Bought a fair bit of new technological kit and sold older stuff on eBay.
  4. Took my son, Ben, to the beach (to burn off excess sugar) almost every day.
  5. Experimented with Quora and Licorizer, re-joined Facebook, and unfollowed 90% of people I was following on Twitter.
  6. Lost all my iPhone contacts on Boxing Day whilst unjailbreaking my iPhone so I could upgrade to iOS 4.2.1 (text me your phone number if I had it before!)
  7. Kicked off a stealth project with Andy Stewart which will culminate in a manifesto and small events this year, building (hopefully!) to a large event in 2015.
  8. Wrote my first-ever journal article (it’s entitled Seven Types of Ambiguity and Digital Literacy)
  9. Engaged in some consultancy which I may develop a bit more in 2011. I’ve come up with a Hierarchy of Understanding which I’m going to work on (and may even turn into a journal article) before sharing.
  10. Played a whole lot on my Playstation 3, especially Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (the Vietnam expansion pack came out on my 30th birthday!)

More on the above over the next week or so. I may be sporadic given I’m both getting back into my digital routine and having to deal with the imminent arrival of a new baby. :-p