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The Great Unplugged Experiment

I've been contemplating what to write about this since our return and no cohesive article or observations have formed in my brain so I'm just going to dump some random (and maybe not popular) thoughts that occurred to me or that I observed as a result of being completely cut off from the Internet for one week.

First, you should know, this started as a a vacation possibility, that turned into a bet, that I did win. Second, the parameters meant no Internet whatsoever via computer, iPhone or anything, including email for one week (well actually eight days because it was Sunday through the subsequent Sunday).

Okay - thoughts, stories, observations:

  • I definitely white-knuckled the first two days - it was very hard not to want to check/update Facebook and my email. After Monday though, it became easier and they only angst I felt being cut-off was the occasional thought on how overwhelming my email may be when I get home, the rare fear that something went on at work for which I wasn't around for which I may suffer in some way upon my return, and the inability to have instant knowledge at my fingertips (e.g., if a question arose about a movie, I couldn't hit IMDB to get the answer, or if we weren't sure of our location, I couldn't pull up a google map to figure it out).

    As an FYI, my personal email numbered about 425 upon return, I didn't bother checking how many on various work accounts, but as you can guess, they were mostly spam.

  • I am sure it was much easier accomplishing this feat while away on vacation than if I were in my house for a staycation. I think the temptation there would be too great.

  • I used my phone more and actually did enjoy talking to people. Odd for me as someone who used to hate the phone, but now I think I like it better than the impersonal emails and I think things may get resolved quicker this way when used. Though I like the calls to be on my time (i.e., I still, selfishly, prefer making the calls than receiving the calls).

  • Is Twitter anything more than a giant marketing tool? Really, I'm as guilty as the next person, but I don't see what point it has than to promote people and businesses and light-speed.

  • And while we're on the subject, I'm thinking Facebook has gotten out of hand too. At first I saw it as a great way to reconnect with friends and family, now I'm wondering if it's anything more than a promotional tool for businesses and/or a tool for those of us with even the slightest case of Narcissistic personality disorder to feed our "illness." I mean, really who cares what beers I'm drinking, what bike ride I went on, what movie I'm at or any of the other random thoughts I share? Yes, I know, one can argue it's the same with blogging but this I do for me, I have no clue if anyone reads it, but doesn't everyone post on Facebook to get a reaction? Can you honestly say you're not a little bit sad if no one likes your status or comments upon it?

    Have you seen this ad from Toyota?

    Is this what we've become? Opting to have cyber-relationships rather than real ones? Well, for one week I couldn't and that was pretty cool. Yet here I am back again, all over the computer ... I need to think about this more because I think there's something here that definitely needs to change...

  • I had time to read more. I got caught up on magazines, getting through over a dozen, plus a few books, and several New York Times Sunday crossword puzzles too.

  • Surprisingly my TV time did not increase though my time outdoors did. This could be a function being on vacation though.

  • Oh, and travel becomes a little more stressful - no online check-in or printing of boarding passes.

Hmm.. I guess that's it. Really no point to this as I said, just a series of thoughts and observations. I don't know, maybe I just need to contemplate it a little more. One thing I do know, I enjoyed focusing on me, my tan, my lava flows, Chris, and my reading. I also know, I'm going to enjoy that book, bottle of wine and dinner I won for making it one week. Anyone want to challenge me again on this - feel free!

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Thanks for this entry...i have been wondering how it went and how long it will take to revert to old ways.

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