This one goes out to Paul Miller. I have followed his work from Engadget to The Verge and truly appreciate his view of technology and dare I say even his world views. His most recent project though is an interesting undertaking.
He’s quitting the internet for a year.
I know I am surrounded by devices that ping, buzz, and pop-up with innumerable notifications about anything and everything around me. I know at times I have to make an extra effort to focus on an activity and not incessantly check for any new updates from Twitter, G+, Facebook, even email or texts. I wonder at times what would it be like to be disconnected entirely from such a constant stream. The closest I could imagine would be my experience during my flights from BWI to ATL (though now even Gogo in-flight brings it back). What do I do… I rest and by rest I mean sleep. I know some people cannot but I love the low resonance and hum of the engines and I just go into an knockout comatose like sleep and wake refreshed but I digress.
Let me bring it back to Paul and his experiment. By being offline for a year he is challenging himself to use the sneakernet to do his work, actually walking over to co-workers and handing them files via USB keys instead of just emailing them. Going to the library for research (non-internet based) and for music (unlimited free music before Spotify/Rdio). All in an effort to quit cold turkey the insane inundation we have all around us.
This brings me back to my own brief stints with no communication on a plane or while riding through some distant stretch of highway. My only reaction in both of these instances is to sleep (except for when I am driving obviously). It just makes me wonder if I am really really worn out. I know the last thing I see as I sleep is a glowing screen with a Movie/TV show playing and the first thing I do is reach for those slew of devices to see what I missed during my mental disconnect for a few hours.
Maybe I need to purposefully disconnect more. I will be following Paul’s exploits to see how he does. Funny enough there’s no way for me to get Paul’s updates about being off the internet except by going on the internet. Obviously I am not in a place yet where I could go so completely offline, but maybe at least I can try it from time to time. Who knows maybe I will just end up sleeping.