We sat down with #YMS16 speaker Shane Hankins from Reboot to talk about something nearly unheard of in this day and age: unplugging from your digital devices. Read on for some great insights:
We always like to start things off with who are you, what do you do, and why do you do it?
I’m the COO of Reboot, the non-profit behind the National Day of Unplugging. I am a serial social entrepreneur. In the past I have worked to help bring health education to schools, headed Grassroots.org and helped refugees starting new lives in the United States. At Reboot, I work to bring our various projects to scale and to help create tools to help people live better lives.
Reboot’s big project is the ‘National Day of Unplugging’. How did you come up with this concept?
The National Day of Unplugging grew from the Reboot network of cultural creatives. It is based on the idea of the Jewish Sabbath, a day aimed at taking a day of rest, which is already compelling to most people nowadays. The concept is really about finding a day to connect with people and be mindful of the effect technology has on our everyday lives.
Mindfulness and relaxation are all the rage with consumers lately - with apps like Headspace and adult colouring books popping up everywhere. Why do you feel mindfulness has resonated with people so deeply?
We are over inundated with technology in our lives. Smartphones, tablets and computers are almost appendages to people in their daily lives. People feel a real need to disconnect from this technology, which also adds so much to our lives. It is not surprising that the need to slowdown is making its way into the mainstream. More important than just finding one day to unplug is the idea of creating a regular unplug habit. I myself work to create this habit by only reading analog books at night as a way to set a line in the sand. It’s a small step, but a meaningful one to me.
What is the longest time you’ve been apart from your digital devices? Has it helped you become more mindful or more productive?
Last summer, I spent a week in Scotland. I took time off of email and being totally connected to the world. (However, I did take photos!) I was able to be more in the moment and focus on exploring new places, including the steam train that inspired the train to Hogwarts.
Why should brands jump on the digital detox hype, and how can they do it?
This is more of a movement than hype. If brands can authentically connect the idea of unplugging to what they are doing, than they should integrate it into their practice. This connects to a broader corporate, social responsibility including environmental and labor issues. I would say brands should think about this on a case by case basis.
What does the next year look like for you? Any exciting new campaigns or projects we can look out for?
Next year we are looking into brands we can collaborate with to increase the impact of the National Day of Unplugging and also build their brand identity. In addition, we are also continuing our work on FRIDAY, an App aimed to help you disconnect on Fridays, that was created in partnership with IDEO. We also hope to create 1,000 unplugging parties with community partners, families and individuals worldwide.