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Bored and Brilliant is not a tech detox. Zomorodi is explicit about that. Zomorodi believes we need to learn to coexist peacefully with our devices. Miranda Katz: You specifically say that Bored and Brilliant is not a detox. So, what is it?
Manoush Zomorodi: I think that the best example is a story I tell about this camp director, Matt Smith, who runs this camp in rural Pennsylvania where kids are allowed to bring their cell phones. Detox means [the tech] is off for a week.
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But we have to live with this stuff. Bored and Brilliant began as a podcast experiment in What changed through the process of turning it into a book? I realized that people feel so unmoored or unsure of what to do when it comes to some of their personal digital habits, and how to exist in the world without being connected all the time, that they really wanted very specific directions.
You are not going to look at your phone or at any technology while you are in transit at all times.
I had to be much more specific in the book and really codify the instructions. Also, in , this was seen as a little counterculture and a little weird. In just the last two years, this has become a mainstream topic—people questioning their tech habits. In this political news climate, it's so easy to feel like you're failing your civic duty by not being constantly connected and up to date on the news. How do you grapple with that?
We have huge societal issues that need to be solved, from the environment to economic disparity to racial divisions. The gift of boredom is that it can show people that you have permission to not read. You have permission to try to just do nothing.
This Is Not a Tech Detox
Because that is the way that we do our best problem solving and come up with original ideas. You are not doing that by refreshing your Twitter feed or the headlines again. The outrage, the anger, and the frustration are real. But then, okay—what are we going to do? Twitter seems like it'd be a popular contender. Do you have data on what was the most addictive app for participants?
But since we did the project, the apps that have come up far and away more than they did in are Snapchat and Instagram. But I think that one is going to be a bigger deal this time around, because we are moving toward a very visually communicative society. And that also is illustrative of why these things are so difficult to put away.