The Opt Out Weblog

The Blog for Garrick van Buren's 'Opt-Out: The Survival Guide for This Modern Age' Book

Category: Modern Living

Mobile Mushrooms

Lepp and Barkley decided to conduct the study to see whether using cellphones — despite their portability —shared the same ties to inactivity as playing traditional video games and watching TV. “There’s been evidence that those types of behaviors that are defined as sedentary are inversely related to fitness,” Barkley said. “The phones now, especially […]

Apple Ressurects AT&T’s “You Will” Ad Campaign

“In what should be a warm, humanizing montage, people are constantly directing their attention away from one another and the real, panoramic world to soak in pixels. They’re choosing the experience of their products over the experience of other people several times in quick succession. And Apple has a warm voice in the background, goading […]

What’s the Opposite of Distracting?

“Spending time trying to distract other engineers is a lot worse than spending time figuring out how to sell an extra pair of sneakers. Somebody might use the sneakers.” – Drew Crawford

No, There is No Pony. Never Was.

Worried that their son was too optimistic, the parents of a little boy took him to a psychiatrist. Trying to dampen the boy’s spirits, the psychiatrist showed him into a room piled high with nothing but horse manure. Yet instead of displaying distaste, the little boy clambered to the top of the pile, dropped to […]

Stop Being Such a Good Host

“An optimally adapted parasite takes as much from its host as possible without damaging the viability of the host. In order for us to stay viable hosts for the media parasite, we need only enough waking hours away from media to make money and to spend that money on advertisers’ offerings and/or media’s costs (and […]

“Except you can’t.”

“The [Facebook Home] ad is an apt, if sanguine, depiction of what I’ve been calling ‘present shock,’ the human incapacity to respond to everything happening all at once. In a rapid-fire, highly commercial digital environment, this sense of an overwhelming ‘now’ reaches new heights. Unlike computer chips, human beings can only process one thing at […]

Just Stop Being an Unpaid Documentary Filmmaker

“The key thing to remember is that you are not enriching your experiences by sharing them online; you’re detracting from them because all your efforts are focussed on making them look attractive to other people. Your experience of something, even if similar to the experience of many others, is unique and cannot be reproduced within […]

Off is the new black

“The new connected is to be disconnected. Deadspots are the new hotspots.” – Liz Danzico

Get Better

“Like everyone, though, I did have relationships — a spouse, friends and family — and none of them got the best version of me. They got what was left over.…I didn’t have to be on my BlackBerry from my first moment in the morning to my last moment at night. I didn’t have to eat […]

Blocking

“…my experiences show that after a certain point, material objects have a tendency to crowd out the emotional needs they are meant to support.” – Graham Hill