Posts Tagged ‘Vacations’

Being Disconnected in a Connected World

Monday, July 25th, 2011

To a large percentage of the world’s population, the Internet couldn’t be more irrelevant or any lower on the totem pole of life’s necessities. However, I happen to live in the group that relies heavily on the Internet to conduct business, perform research, communicate with friends, family and of course, waste time.

If you are like me, you are plastered with Internet access 24/7 in your day-to-day life, especially at work or at home. While I’m out and about, I’ve always got my trusty iPhone which can do 90% of the things that I need to get done with relative ease. If my iPhone lets me down, I can use my iPad to tackle the other 9% percent. The last 1% are probably things I could do without anyway, so they can wait.

I’ve been traveling internationally the past couple weeks so I have experienced a fairly consistent lack of Internet connectivity and as a result, have had to travel a short distance (less than a mile) to a local café with free WiFi or maybe I got lucky and bummed free WiFi off someone with an unsecured network.

When I’m thoroughly disconnected and have no Internet resources whatsoever, something strange happens to me. I tend to notice things that are around me more because I’m not bumping into them while checking the weather on my iPhone. I also find myself engaging in conversation with more people because I’m not busy deleting spam out my inbox or replying to a text message. Does any of this sound familiar?

Yes I need the Internet and no I don’t need the Internet. What I mean is.. if I had to choose between never having access to the Internet again for the rest of my life or.. well, I can’t think of anything that would be applicable for a trade. You can’t say television because the Internet provides that. You can’t say music or radio because the Internet provides both of those. We pretty much can’t say anything that you can’t physically put your hands on because the Internet provides all of those too. But you can say anything that you can touch, feel, taste, and smell. I left “see” out because as we already know you can see everything on the Internet. Especially the stuff you have no interesting seeing.

What I’m trying to say is that I/we forget too often that the Internet is just a tool to help us do things and it’s not really very good at much else. Have you ever tried to have a conversation with the internet? How about asking the internet on the date? Maybe go to dinner with the internet or make friends with the internet? Sure you can see the great pyramids on the internet but let’s be real, that’s no substitute for standing in front of them, smelling the air, feeling the sun reflect off of them or touching the stones.

So I suppose it’s okay to be disconnected and in some cases, even therapeutic. It’s sad to say but I know people who would have a complete meltdown if they lost their Internet connection for a week or two. If you’re reading this blog post it’s very likely that I don’t know you, but it’s also very likely that he might be one of those people.

Not that you asked for it, but my recommendation would be to pick one day on the weekend to not use the Internet. That means disconnect the data portion on your phone as well because that would be cheating. You’ll survive an entire day without Google maps and even though your “real friends” on Facebook might be scratching their heads at your sudden absence, they too will survive. Just do it as a test and then think about that day as it progresses. You might surprised at what you experience.

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