The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Opinion & Letters to the Editor

September 2, 2013

Labor Day: Just the time to give the apps a nap

If there's one weekend that calls for a break, a timeout, an email-free day (or two — or, dare I suggest, three), this is it. Do you really want to be the person who can't stop laboring on Labor Day? Sorry, that's not a badge of honor. I'm not just talking about work-work, either. Managing your digital life — photographing and obsessing over status updates that convey your clever, care-free online persona — has become practically a full-time job.

I work at Fast Company, a magazine that focuses on hyper-achieving, hyper-connected, hyper-stressed innovators. Recently, we released a book about unplugging, about our need to gain control over the increasing demands — digital and otherwise — on our attention. It's called "Unplug," and we had the audacity to publish it as an e-book, which the Irony Police were quick to notice. But where else would we find our target audience?

Here's some of the advice we've gleaned, tips that apply to this weekend and beyond.

Get the word out

Last year, our columnist Baratunde Thurston went offline for 25 days. Before vanishing, he warned everyone in his social network. If you suddenly stop answering texts, video chat requests and work emails, people, you know, notice. Best to prepare them.

Thurston sent out what he called a "smoke signal." He changed his profile pictures in social media to an all-black rectangle with the dates for when he'd be offline. For everybody else, set up an automated vacation message saying you won't be returning emails — and mean it.

Turn off the noise

People aren't the only ones tugging at your sleeve these days. If you have a smartphone or tablet, you have apps. And if you have apps, they want to talk to you, too. To let you know when you have new Instagram followers, when a friend has commented on a Facebook post, and when there's important breaking news — an Atlanta Braves comeback win, in my case. This next step isn't fun but it's necessary: go into your device settings and disable alerts from your apps.

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Opinion & Letters to the Editor
  • D.G. Martin Read others’ views to be better informed, decide for yourself

    “I don’t read The Washington Post. That is not where I get my ideas.”

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Patrick Gannon This isn’t medical marijuana

    As state legislators debated allowing the use of an extract from marijuana plants to treat seizure disorders over the past couple of weeks, it was evident that social conservatives – there are many of them in the General Assembly – felt a tinge of unease about it, even as almost every one of them voted yes.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Doug Creamer Friends and contentment

    Last week I made my annual trip up the mountain to Sparta. My friends have a secluded home near a babbling brook. Their home and property are a haven for peace. It’s a two-plus hour ride to their home that doesn’t feel that long because I look so forward to my time with this great couple. When I arrive, the conversation seems to pick up right where we left it the last time we saw each other.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Thanks for the honest deed

    I would like to thank the person that found my wallet in the parking lot of Harris Teeter on July 23 and turned it in to the Albemarle Police.

    July 29, 2014

  • cleaning supplies Don't judge mothers with messy homes

    I was building shelves in my garage when a neighbor girl, one of my 4-year-old daughter's friends, approached me and said, "I just saw in your house. It's pretty dirty. Norah's mommy needs to clean more."

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • We need your help

    Hurray for the Albemarle City Council. Council plans to battle N.C. Department of Transportation’s ranking of all 13 projects in Stanly County to the bottom of their priority list. Council is setting up petitions in various city buildings for citizens to sign.

    July 28, 2014

  • Council asks veterans to seek office

    The terms of office for the leaders of the Stanly County Veterans Council ended June 30. A call is being sent to veterans council members requesting candidates for the four elective offices of the council. A meeting has been set for 6:30 p.m. Aug. 12 at the DAV building. All council members are urged to attend.

    July 28, 2014

  • Mike Walden The gains and gaps in our economy

    Twice a year, I pull out my cloudy crystal ball and attempt to make some predictions about the direction and pace of the North Carolina economy. I just finished my latest effort and, as usual, the results are a combination of pluses and minuses.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jason O. Boyd Yellow journalism takes on new form, people are dumber for it

    Time to get on the soapbox for a few minutes.
    Let me clear my throat. Eh ... hem!
    People are dumb.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brent Laurenz Special election adds to the mix

    RALEIGH – A busy slate of judicial elections this November got even busier recently when Judge John Martin of the N.C. Court of Appeals announced his retirement.
    A special statewide election to fill Martin’s seat will be added to the general election ballot, joining the four N.C. Supreme Court seats and three N.C. Court of Appeals races already slated for this fall.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

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