A technology journalist in New York has just set sail on a year of living without the internet:
Paul Miller, Offline: day one of life without internet, The Verge, 02 May 2012
I think it’ll be interesting to see how he goes. I can’t find a feed, but his posts will be listed on his author page.
So far he hasn’t suggested that the internet is bad for all of us, only that it’s not working well for him, so he’s pretty refreshing from that point of view. (I’m so sick of the authors who assume that if something is bad for them, it’s bad for everybody.)
And as I said, he lives in New York, so with or without the internet he has a particular sort of life, lived in close proximity to other people and human activity and public resources (like libraries, museums, public events). And he’ll be continuing his work in an office, I think, so that gives him an extra layer of connection to the wider world as well.
In other words, disconnecting from the internet won’t be disconnecting him from the wider world, which I think would be the case if a country person like me did it (and the reason I wouldn’t want to do it). It will be disconnecting him from the wider world’s constant calls for his attention, though, apparently. It sounds like he has lots of friends or colleagues online who want to talk to him all the time, so that’s another difference between us.
In short, his life is so different to mine there’s really no comparison between them, but still, I’ll be interested to see what he thinks about his new sort of life.
For people like me from the pre-internet age, he’ll be kind-of visiting the world we used to live in… except that now everything has changed, and the internet has become infrastructure. It might be like the switchover from horses to cars: people who didn’t like the new world of cars might have wanted to return to riding horses, but found the trails and roads they used to ride had been lost, and the feeding areas and the watering troughs and the road rules too. I mean, maybe it’s like that, or maybe it’s still perfectly possible to live happily and easily in the former pre-car pre-internet way.