Maintaining an online presence in today’s digital age is about more than simply updating one’s status, posting a few pictures, and commenting on the lastest youtube videos. To be truly initiated, these interactions must be at the core of one’s values, identity, and sense of purpose. To test his commitment to his smartphone-addicted lifestyle ... embarked on a reverse rumspringa, trading in his belongings for a horse drawn carriage, a plot of arable land in Pennsylvania, and a small wardrobe of Amish clothing.

For ..., the decision to forego modern conveniences was not taken lightly. “I knew that I would be faced with all forms of temptations that might cause me to stray from my 21st century way of life.” Nevertheless, ... felt it was essential to truly know what he might be giving up by maintaining his membership in the online world. “I wondered, what might it be like to have long face-to-face interactions, opportunities to introspect, and a chance to engage in simple manual tasks that transform the bounty of the land into beautiful hard-wrought goods? I finally saw it was time to embark on this rite of passage.” According to Dr. Morhooven, noted anthropologist, such behavior is necessary for individuals who are ambivalent about pledging their allegiance to the rigid demands of a 24-hour online community. "Many find it necessary to dabble in neo-luddism before returning to their ipads. The online community respects this ritual as vital."

So far the experience has been humbling. Turning off his laptop and phone has opened his eyes to an undistracted world of pre-industrial possibility. Grasping a worn wooden butter churn, ... expressed awe at all of the new experiences he might never have known. “Pumping this churn up and down has put my body and mind in harmony with people whose simple lifestyle I have taken every measure to avoid. With each thrust I feel that much closer to a world of baked pies, long beards, modesty and abstention, seasonal canned preserves, limited gene pools, cabinetry and child corporal punishment,” said ... wistfully, “I am not sure it will be easy to leave this all behind.” Even so, ... has assured his online contacts that at the end of his year-long reverse rumpringa he will indeed return to the fold. “I know that I will have thousands of emails and updates to catch up on--and I am sure after I finally tear myself away from this Amish paradise I will respond to each one with a more profound appreciation for the value of instant gratification.”