Saturday, May 1, 2010

Fridays Unplugged

With the general exception of Sundays, I make posts most days of the week. Yesterday I did not nor did I reply to many emails. That's because yesterday was a dry run for something I'm intending to do on a more extensive and (I hope) permanent basis: completely unplugging from the Internet every Friday.

Reflecting on it, I think that I, like a lot of people, rely on the Net a little too much. I know I often use it as a way of distracting myself from other tasks that need doing. I also know that the world won't end if I don't make a post, reply to comments, send emails, or read forums over a single 24-hour period. So that's what I'm planning to do, starting next Friday (May 7, 2010).

It'll be interesting to see how this experiment goes. I've read reports of several studies where test subjects had their access to the Internet and to cell phones and mobile devices cut off for a time. What they found is that many of the subjects suffered physiological as well as psychological effects, which is both fascinating and a little disturbing. I don't own a cell phone or a mobile device (I actually find both rather annoying), but I do use the Net for a lot and I'd like to try and do without it at least a little more than I do.

Time will tell whether this is just another harebrained scheme or a worthwhile endeavor. Regardless, for the next few Fridays, expect me to be scarcer than usual.

24 comments:

  1. What they found is that many of the subjects suffered physiological as well as psychological effects, which is both fascinating and a little disturbing.

    Changing any established habit, particularly ones with quasi-addictive qualities, has some effect on the human animal. We're funny like that.

    I've started limiting myself to 1 hour on the 'lectroweb at a time recently. It concentrates the mind wonderfully.

    Have fun with Slow-verse Friday. ;)

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  2. I used to work at my public library, and you wouldn't believe some of the crazies who would use the public internets. When the internet would be down, they'd look at you like you told them a UFO armada had landed. Then they'd go sit down at the non-functional internet terminals and stare at the blank screen.

    Bizarre.

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  3. Worthwhile endeavor. I speak from experience.

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  4. Wish you well with that. I'm afraid I'm more like the people Geoffrey mentions.

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  5. I do this every so often just to keep my brain working. Highly recommended.

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  6. The fact that you put a space between the a and the l in "a lot" means that you're way ahead of most internet addicts.

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  7. Hi James,
    I'm a grad student and I have this same problem. If I didn't have to touch a computer ever, I'd be fine, but for some reason although I can go cold turkey; I can't seem to moderate adequately.
    I have a mobile, but I only use it as a phone not as a entertainment device.
    Anyway, Walkerp posted this link on the rpg haven the other day- you may find it useful.
    http://macfreedom.com/

    I'm going to spend the ten bucks and give it a whirl.

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  8. The research I saw recently, the non-Internet "withdrawal" was a factor for much younger people, those who've grown up with cell phones, etc. I don't think it'll be much problem for you. Somedays I do it half-accidentally myself, anyway.

    Good luck!

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  9. James:

    Given the quality of your blog, I would be happy with one post from you a week. Everything beyond once a week is total bonus.

    Hope the day off means you will be rolling dice!

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  10. Interesting - wonder if there will be a withdrawl effect....

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  11. But...how would you watch tv or read anything?

    Just kidding. Good luck with it. Make sure that you avoid the temptation. Go to the library or the park or something.

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  12. Sounds like fun, but I couldn't risk not digging on Treasure Isle or keeping an eye on my digital dogs on Facebook. If those dogs skip too many meals they run away and you need to free them from the digital dog pound!

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  13. Sounds like fun, but I couldn't risk not digging on Treasure Isle or keeping an eye on my digital dogs on Facebook. If those dogs skip too many meals they run away and you need to free them from the digital dog pound!

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  14. Many years ago, I quit watching TV for similar reasons (plus advertising infuriates me). Haven't owned one or cable since.

    More and more The Internet has taken over as time waster/procrastination tool. At least it is interactive and I do / learn / engage my mind more than ever did sitting on the couch in front of boob tube. With things like Hulu, and on demand Netflicks it's reaching the same passive, consumptive, waste of life TV is.

    But, I don't have the will to give it up.

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  15. Why not declare Friday an "open-thread day?" You put up a placeholder post and go off to do your thing, while we talk about whatever comes to mind.

    security word: "Metrula," a particularly corrupt and vicious Empress of the Sabinian Empire. (Which I just made up for a setting.)

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  16. I didn't think Canada even had cell phones yet.

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  17. Heh, heh! I like the idea of "turning it off" for a day. My internet goes down some weekends and it gives me a much needed break not to fix it.

    'Course if you take Fridays off, the rest of us will have pick up the slack for those poor suckers surfing the blogs at work...
    ; )

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  18. I recommend running water and perhaps written language as additional technologies to forego arbitrarily.

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  19. Anthony has a good idea. We'll call it, "Talk amongst yourselves day!"

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  20. I would say that if you have withdrawal symptoms from stepping away for one day per week, it's time to cancel your Internet service.

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  21. Disconnecting from the internet from time to time is an admirable thing IMO. I love the technology this age has given us, but at the same time, I see so many people who seem to be reliant on it to the point of distraction. They can't go an hour or two without updating their Facebook status or checking their email.

    I think living a balanced life is a good thing, and for me that means giving all of the things I like to do their time and place, and not obsessing over it in the mean time. The internet for me is definitely one of those activities.

    It's nice, I get to read, browse the internet, cook, game, and most importantly, spend time with my wife and my friends, and I never feel guilty about any of it.

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  22. Do it! You'll be glad you did!

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  23. I recommend running water and perhaps written language as additional technologies to forego arbitrarily.

    It's hardly arbitrary if I do it for a deliberate reason.

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