Living Without The Internet

Andrew Sullivan —  May 5 2012 @ 2:15pm

Paul Miller started his one-year hiatus this week, promising not to use the internet for personal or work-related uses or asking anyone to use it for him:

I want to see the internet at a distance. By separating myself from the constant connectivity, I can see which aspects are truly valuable, which are distractions for me, and which parts are corrupting my very soul. What I worry is that I'm so "adept" at the internet that I've found ways to fill every crevice of my life with it, and I'm pretty sure the internet has invaded some places where it doesn't belong.

His first missive is here. Jen Doll is unimpressed:

The question that's most interesting to me with regard to going off the Internet is whether or not Miller can remain relevant to the rest of us on the Internet, while he's off of it. It's sort of like writing about a TV show when you're no longer actually watching episodes. And it grows progressively less and less interesting to get dispatches from someone regarding their non-Internet life when you yourself are living life very differently and, if given the choice of Internet or no Internet, would always pick Internet.

Jen Doll recalls James Sturm's similar experiment in April of 2010. He lasted four months:

What happened when he went off the Internet? Nothing much. He didn't suddenly get deluged with phone calls or faxes. … In his third-week dispatch, he writes, "so far the biggest surprise has been how uneventful it is." He points out as a troubling aspect, the inability to Google. By his sixth entry, after two months, he'd cheated. Cheated on the Internet, cheated on all of us! It's only fair, because life without the Internet is sort of… boring.