Thursday, March 22, 2007

Shutdown Day: The biggest meme ever?

For the past month, the internet's been buzzing about Worldwide Shutdown Day, an internet stunt disguised as a social experiment that purports to "make us think" about whether we might have an unhealthy dependence on the internet. Shutdown Day organizers are urging computer users to turn off their machines for 24 hours on Saturday, March 24:

It is obvious that people would find life extremely difficult without computers, maybe even impossible. If they disappeared for just one day, would we be able to cope?

Be a part of one of the biggest global experiments ever to take place on the internet. The idea behind the experiment is to find out how many people can go without a computer for one whole day, and what will happen if we all participate!

Shutdown your computer on this day and find out! Can you survive for 24 hours without your computer?

Call me a cynic, but this "experiment" is almost too silly for words. Its purpose is not "to find out how many people can go without a computer for one day," but rather to see how many people can be suckered into participating in what is essentially an internet meme. And make no mistake: the organizers are milking all this attention for ad revenue.

Can I go for 24 hours without the internet? Sure I can. I've gone several days at a time without logging on. But if it happens that I don't post a blog entry on Saturday, don't assume that I'm observing Shutdown Day. I won't be.

Now I'll stop being crochety for a minute (yes, I know; it's bound to be a strain) and point you to a cute video on ways to have fun with your laptop computer without even turning it on.


Jennifer Shirk said...

Now I do love my computer, but going without a whole day is not a biggie. Especially a Saturday.

(I try to keep my computer time to just during the week anyway.)

But maybe I'll log on THIS Saturday just so people know I'm not participating in the experiment. LOL!

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Fat chance...I have too much work to do!

Trapezoiddave said...

It's also an email harvesting scheme - why do they need your email for you to 'register'? Oh yeah, to sell to spammers.

Brenda Coulter said...

Like you, Dave, I wondered why they were collecting e-mail addresses.

I clicked over to the site just now and found it inaccessible except for a note on the home page that says, "Just popped out to the real world" and then this:

We've teamed up with the National Laptop Foundation, a new non-profit organisation launching on World Earth Day, to help underprivileged children, the elderly and schools and doctors in third world countries have access to the internet, by recycling & refurbishing old unwanted & broken computers.

We want to raise $100,000 to help this cause and to start work on the next Shutdown Day and organise events in cities around the world. Please help be a part of this.

That sounds very nice, but I wonder why they never mentioned that plan before today? And I wonder if they'll be donating their own ad revenue to the cause? They don't say. They just offer a button you can click to make a donation via PayPal.

My Google search for "National Laptop Foundation" returned zero results apart from the mention at the Shutdown Day site. I hope this isn't a scam.

Hope Chastain said...

Hi, Brenda! I hadn't heard about this until 10:31 PM CDT, and it's already Saturday. Where do I hang out on the Internet, anyway, that I missed the whole deal? Oh, well.
I can go without the Internet for long periods of time (whenever we're out of range of a computer), but I can't say I like it! *grin*

I never heard of the National Laptop Foundation, either. It sounds like an idea that, if it IS a scam, ought to be turned into something real by some good computer geeks who could wipe the original information off the hard drives and redo them.

Hope work is going well on the newest novel! *grin*

Hugs, Hope

Domino said...

It's Sunday after Shutdown day. Thanks for letting me know what I missed while I was supervising a pre-teen sleepover at my house. Without realizing it, I observed shutdown day in my own little way. On Saturday, no computers were necessary; however, an afternoon nap was!

Brenda Coulter said...

Glad to have been of service, Domino.

Brenda Coulter said...

Hope work is going well on the newest novel! *grin*

Hope, my editor said much the same thing the other day. Oh, the pressure!