Paul Miller’s Internet-Free Year

Paul Miller, a technology reporter, is currently on a quest to go without the Internet for a year. He occasionally reports on his progress in The Verge. In this post, he recounts his life without the Internet after three months:

The first two weeks were a zen-like blur. I’ve never felt so calm and happy in my life. Never. And then I started actually getting stuff done. I bought copies of Homer, Plato, Aristotle, Herodotus, and Aeschylus. I was writing at an amazing pace. For the first time ever I seemed to be outpacing my editors.

Without the internet, everything seemed new to me. Every untweeted observation of daily life was more sacred. Every conversation was face to face or a phone call, and filled with a hundred fresh nuances. The air smelled better. My sentences seemed less convoluted. I lost a bit of weight.

Three months later, I don’t miss the internet at all. It doesn’t factor into my daily life. I don’t say to myself, “ugh, I wish I could just use the internet to do that.” It’s more like it doesn’t exist for me. I still say “ugh, I have to do that” — it’s just not the internet’s fault.

If you don’t read the whole post, this is the key takeaway:

I know I’m not the first person to recognize this, but much of the charm in “taking a break from the internet” is that you end up viewing the real world through the prism of “I’m taking a break from the internet right now,” and then you get back on the internet to tell everybody about what a good time you had. A face-to-face coffee date is very different than Facebook flirting, and a really great use of time, but it’s easiest to see the novelty and value of it when you have a Facebook to compare it to. “Disconnecting” and “disconnected” are two very different things, as I’m discovering.

So: it’s good to take a break, but your motivation to take such a break will vary from everyone else’s.

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