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Put down the smartphone and pass the turkey, site says

Doug Gross
The "Offlining" effort asks people to put down their gadgets and engage each other in person on Thanksgiving.
The "Offlining" effort asks people to put down their gadgets and engage each other in person on Thanksgiving.
  • The "offlining" effort asks people to put aside gadgets on Thanksgiving
  • More than 11,000 people had taken the group's pledge as of Wednesday
  • Founders say we need to be masters of, not servants to, our technology

(CNN) -- Was the turkey tasty? You don't have to tweet it.

A family viewing of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade might turn out to be as entertaining as "Call of Duty: Black Ops" if you give it a chance.

And maybe, just maybe, the folks around the dinner table are special enough that you won't need to text 20 friends to see if they're in a food stupor, too.

Those are the hopes of the folks behind"Offlining," a movement to put our precious gadgets aside this holiday. They're calling on the public to declare Thursday a "No-Device Day" and urging them to spend Thanksgiving actually engaging the people around them.

"Use the time you would have spent online to notice the people in your life who are thankful -- including you!" they write on their website, where more than 11,000 people had signed a virtual pledge Wednesday to do just that.

The Offlining site provides a bevy of humorous e-cards users can e-mail to their frends to urge them to take part in the offline day. Among them: pilgrims praying while one buries his face in a laptop computer, a cartoon turkey pointing a gun at a smartphone and an iPhone being sliced up like a Thanksgiving ham.

This isn't their first outing. For the Jewish High Holy Days, they launched a similar campaign with the tag, "You don't have to be Jewish ... ." Among them, a Tiger Woods image with the phrase "You don't have to be Jewish to atone for you texts on Yom Kippur."

Offlining founders Mark DiMassimo and Eric Yaverbaum are, perhaps ironically, marketing professionals who "devoted much of the last couple of decades to convincing you to log on, click here, call now, surf, search, pay bills in your underwear ... ."

They are decidedly not anti-technology, they say. But they say it's time to put things in perspective.

"We invent technology to be our servant, not our master," they write on their site. "So, we decided to strike a blow for mastery, with the aim of tilting the balance and putting humanity back on top where we belong."

To be sure, there's growing sentiment that people, particularly Americans, are becoming increasingly attached to mobile phones and other gadgets.

The Offlining folks may have an uphill battle. A survey this week suggested that most working Americans -- 59 percent -- will check their work e-mail at least once on Thanksgiving.


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