If you had to give up the internet for a day, could you do it? How about a week? A month? A whole freakin’ year? (Please note that I’m asking this hypothetically, knowing full well that I can’t even half figure out where I am or what time of day it is without hopping on Google, so I know I couldn’t do any of the above. Maybe a day, if a really good Titanic-length movie or marathon of some favorite show was on. But then I always want to learn more about something and head straight to the web, so never mind.)
Anyway, you and I don’t have to do it. The ever-so-brave Paul Miller, a technology blogger and senior editor at tech news site The Verge, officially gave up the internet for a year starting at midnight yesterday, so we can just shudder vicariously through his re-acclimation to actually having conversations on the phone (ack!) and letting his fingers do the walking (le sigh).
What makes a man who has dedicated his career to technology take on such a challenge? "I've been on the Internet for the majority of the hours of my waking life,” he says in a video posted on The Verge. Being connected all of the time, every day, can be exhausting. You know that. I know that. And Paul over there, he definitely knows that. He’s got other goals besides being at some other person’s digital beck and call—he wants to write a sci-fi novel, for example—and the distractions of the online world are just overwhelming.
So he’s hanging up his mouse for 365 days (almost 364, Paul!) to do things in a simpler, easier way. He’ll still keep his job, don’t worry. He’ll just submit his stories via flash drive to his editor instead of, you know, emailing them. And he’ll use the age-old power of human connectivity to hunt down resources and conduct interviews for his assignments. It might be nice to have some down time from the now, now, now world of constant accessibility.
Still, better Paul than me. I have a mini-conniption if my wi-fi goes out and I can’t get rid of this blankety blank BlackBerry fast enough because its 1.5G network loads way too slow for my liking. June 22 marks the day Verizon discounts me a new phone and I’ll be there first thing smoking to trade up for a Droid, an iPhone, something, anything better than this archaic piece of Alexander Graham Bell-era machinery. Because of course, even that doesn’t move fast enough for me.
I do think I need to set some hours when I disconnect completely—not a whole year like P. Miller over there, but maybe from like 8 p.m. until the time I wake up at 6:30 a.m. I just chuckled to myself thinking that. And then red light started flashing on my phone and I instantly reached to check it. Oh dear. No Facebook? No Groupons? No funny emails from my bestie to rate Rihanna’s latest fashion victory? I can’t dot com.
How long could you last without the internet? Your iPad or laptop? What about your smartphone?
Image via TDOMMDAD/Flickr