I decided to do an experiment and shut off the internet for a while, eventually going 12 days with no email, texting, no connection with The Web. I was curious what the changes would be since I've been connected to The Web for about 20 years. And I didn't tell anyone, just wasn't there .. there being here, on The Web. What were the results of the experiment?
I'm awake, up writing on and off The Web daily and early, a longtime habit. So I decided that instead of surfing and reading online, I would keep sort of a non-published Twiter feed to document the effects of being so disconnected. And then publish the results on The Web.
So here is Part One of a Three Part series of the non-liveblog:
Have marked the first 24 hours with no online usage.
What if I were to decide to never return to explore the world via online access? What if this non-connected landscape becomes preferable? Will I become an oddity of creation? Not being part of online discussions, comments, image sharing and info sharing, will I become a person unwelcome should I prefer to engage the world in the flesh, face to face? Will I be perceived as a danger, a threat even?
Should I have told people I was going to do this? As those who undertake some solo journey to an isolated location, like that guy in that movie “127 Hours” who did not let people know he was taking on a risky task, he got stuck in some rocks and had to saw his arm off, so should I have alerted someone?
Or have I already chopped off an appendage by abandoning my internet post?
I hope I don’t start calling people on the phone for no real reason or decide to become a phone texter. Texting seems alien to me now – maybe I should decide now not to fill in the internet absence with pervasive texts … I am getting a little nervous.
No one here in the house has started a meme today.
There have been, however, several snarky and witty comments made, but no one wrote them down or shared them with anyone outside of the house.
My neighbors have not come by to show me any photos of funny cats or cute kids.
It occurs to me that this document is sort of like live-blogging an event which is not really live, nor is it really taking place. It’s a running commentary on what is not happening. Or, it’s a commentary on something which is really just happening to me. I am going to continue, though, since I have encountered much which is utterly useless and self-serving on the internet, so this project seems worthy of coverage and reporting. To me. For now.
This day has not been too bad. One glaring difference is the ability to obtain news and information, as mentioned before. Cable local and national news are offering an astonishingly narrow selection of stories. So much of what I am seeing reminds me of the old Punch and Judy puppet shows of hundreds of years ago – laughable figures beating each other up in an endless loop. (Note: While I know the old P and J shows began many years ago, I cannot provide the actual date they began to take place and spread since I don’t have access to vast archives of research offered by the internet to verify or correct my claims.)
I had thought initially that I might try this experiment for a month, now I’m thinking a week will be my limit.
Daylight is really bright.
I miss being able to look at funny pictures of whatever I want. So, here’s a picture from my hard drive – Charles Napier in “Star Trek”
Oh man, this tiny dribble of information coming into the house via radio and television is ridiculously inadequate. It’s barely a notch above using the Pony Express to share news and information.
I can measure this weak and puny stream of information not by the bytes arriving by second, it is words per hour. And I know too there are some in the wide world who may just be pining for my perspectives which have been absent.
I have resisted urges to go to a friend’s house or library to sneak online for just a minute to check email messages. But my resolve is fading … I imagine it will take at least one week to kill such urges.
A few weeks ago when web site operators wanted to make a global protest against internet piracy legislation, the web sites shut down for only 24 hours to make their point and kill the legislation. 24 hours. What would the response have been if, like me, they shut down for 5 times as long (120 hours and counting)?
Have I been released from a digital cage or have I been caged in an analog world?
This was a terrible idea.
That's the end of Part One, and when the other parts are published in the next few days, they will be linked here and here.