Virginia, unplugged: State tourism agency going dark this weekend

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I first heard of the National Day of Unplugging, which runs sundown to sundown Friday to Saturday, from a press release from the Virginia Tourism Corporation.

The state’s tourism marketing agency touted how it is going dark across all its social-media channels for the 24-hour digital detox.

I’m doing them one better, but, more on that in a moment.

“National Day of Unplugging is the perfect day to focus on doing the things you love with the people you love doing them with,” said Rita McClenny, president & CEO of Virginia Tourism Corporation. “We’re encouraging visitors to explore Virginia without electronic devices and travel to breathtaking views from cliff to coast where the only filter is natural sunlight.

“Instead of opening an email, open an award-winning craft beer or Virginia wine to savor the distinctive flavors of Virginia. When we open our hearts and minds to discovery, we can experience and truly understand why Virginia is for Lovers,” McClenny said.

OK, so, I can’t entirely unplug. I’m a reporter and editor; email is oxygen.

But I can forego social media, and I’ve decided that I’m going to do that for more than those 24 hours.

My Twitter handle, @AugFreePress, is transitioning to being a generic stream of links to posts from our website.

I’d already de-emphasized my personal Facebook a few years back. De-emphasized meaning, I still have an account, and maybe five, six friends, but I don’t use it, and it’s only there because my wife makes me have it, so she can tag me in photos.

I’d gotten away from Facebook because it had gotten to be a drag on my mental health. People who were (emphasis: were) actual friends seemed to think that it was OK to use Facebook to pick fights with each other, with me, and I’d had enough.

Twitter has become the same, except that now it’s an election year, so the picking fights is on steroids now.

I’ll miss the cute dog videos, basically, but the rest, not at all.

Back to Virginia Tourism Corporation: the National Day of Unplugging will be a launch point for the agency’s “Share What You Love” campaign on Monday, which will showcase the importance of disconnected travel and being present on vacation.

A commercial spot, developed by The Martin Agency, showcases a blended family embarking on their first vacation together in Virginia Beach. The spot introduces us to a family of six from Washington state, each parent having two children from a previous marriage. While settling in for a beach vacation, the family learns that their cell phones will be taken away for the duration of the trip, inviting viewers to see what unfolds when we disconnect from our busy worlds and reconnect with the ones we love.

Interested in disconnecting to reconnect? Check out these trip ideas for travel inspiration.

There, I’ve helped Virginia make some money.

And maybe helped you think through how much time you waste getting mad at your phone.

Story by Chris Graham


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