A year without the Internet

by Andrea Maioli on 06/12/2013

I don’t know about you, but I’m seeing a proliferation of devices connected to the Internet that little by little we, our colleagues, and our friends are surrounding ourselves with. At home I even had to install a second Wi-Fi network because one wasn’t enough!

Sometimes I think back to when we weren’t always online, weren’t always available on our cell phones, when we met people in person and not via chat, when the name “friend” described a physical experience and not a website. I sometimes wonder what my life would have been like under those conditions, and maybe miss those days a bit.

Paul Miller, an American professional writer who publishes on The Verge, a famous technology news and media network in New York, asked himself the same question. And since our American friends love experimentation, he decided to see for himself what it’s like to spend a year without the Internet, after having spent nearly fourteen years continuously online.

A bit over a month ago, Paul Miller came back online and published the story of his experience in this article, which I found very interesting because it offers a very honest assessment, starting with the very first sentence: I was wrong. The conclusions Paul came to were the following:

  • In terms of practical issues (like buying the best or least expensive product, finding streets on maps, etc.), the Internet can be helpful, but you can get along without it too.
  • It’s not the Internet that makes us lazy, unable to interact, uninterested in concentrating, it’s something that’s inside us even when we’re “offline”.
  • The Internet isn’t something we do on our own – it’s something we do with others. The Internet is where the people are.

And this third point is the most important, because without the Internet, Paul felt isolated, out of his own world and his real life.

This is the most convincing argument for me: there was a time when we used to meet in the evening out for a walk in the square, or at the neighbor’s farm; today we have a hangout with Google+. Our ways have changed, but our needs are always the same.

And you – will you buy Google Glasses as soon as they’re available or would you prefer to cut your network cable?

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