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Valentine Pledge: unplug for the night

What are YOU doing for Valentine's Day? Join the Valentine Pledge movement and unplug for the night. Disconnect to connect with your date.

By David Ryan Polgar

A few days ago I was sitting at the bar of a restaurant enjoying dinner with my wife. Despite the available tables, I have a tendency to choose sitting at a bar: it’s casual, easier to get a beer, and, above all, social. Looking around, however, I noticed something strange—people weren’t talking to each other. They were staring at screens.

The couple to our left? Never said a word to each other. The guy to our right? On his phone. The family of five sitting behind us at a table? Each one of them, at the same time, were on their respective phone.

Let’s pretend we jumped in a time machine and headed back to 1998. You are sitting on the couch with your date watching a sci-fi movie about the year 2014. The movie is about a world where people talk with their thumbs instead of their mouths. Couples sit in silence—enraptured glow of a screen instead of the light of their lover’s eye. It’s a world soaked in artificial connection while bereft of authentic emotional connection. You look at your date and scoff—what a bleak outlook.

Welcome to the future.

Many of us have woken up to the realization that we have reached the point of absurdity. Most of us don’t want to live in a world where we connect more with the virtual than the living, breathing person sitting across the table. Life, as we like to say is all about BALANCE—somewhere along the line things got out of whack.

The people who are stuck on their devices instead of being present are not doing so out of an antisocial impulse—quite the opposite. As social animals, we long to be connected. The advent of social media made the ability to connect so easy that it has become the default for some people. Instead of complementing their real-time relationships, it’s serving as a replacement. It’s the path of least resistance.

Real relationships are a two-way street of give-and-take with nonverbal communication playing a major role. Online relationships give the end-user far more control. The downside is that social media is wonderful as a potential conduit to offline connections, but horrible at replacing the deep visceral feeling that comes with being right next to someone.

Here is the good news: we can have all of the benefits that social media provides while ALSO keeping the deep emotional connection that personal contact provides. We have gone too far in one direction, but the pendulum is swinging the other way. It’s time to put the “social me” in social media. It’s time for a Valentine Pledge.

The Valentine Pledge is a brand-new campaign where people pledge to unplug for the night. Simple. Spend the night connecting with your date. What’s better than a dozen roses and a fancy dinner? Giving your loved one your full attention.

The Valentine Pledge is a great way to bring the words in your card to life. It’s a holiday that is about celebrating love, and nothing works better than to connect on a deep level removed from the many distractions that often keep us on the surface.

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The Valentine Pledge aims to be a participatory movement. It is being run by David Ryan Polgar and CyberWise.org, and is currently looking for people to upload photos, artwork, poems, etc, surrounding the Valentine Pledge concept. Let's really connect this Valentine's Day. 

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Join the movement by clicking HERE.

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Overplugged is a joint project between David Ryan Polgar and Dr. David Greenfield. Polgar is a writer, tech ethicist, and speaker who examines the ethical, legal, sociological, and emotional effects of technology. His commentary has been featured on SiriusXM, HuffPost Live, FoxNews.com, Entrepreneur, and MSN. Dr. Greenfield is one of the world’s leading authorities on Internet and Cyber Psychology. To learn more, please visit Overplugged.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jaclyn Finger February 04, 2014 at 09:53 PM
LOVE this!!!
David Ryan Polgar February 05, 2014 at 06:14 PM
Thanks, Jaclyn!

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