Do You Know This Person?
I think we’ve all seen those occasional announcements on our Facebook feeds more or less stating “it’s not you it’s me” or the why I’m leaving Facebook laundry list. Reasons for leaving are varied from feeling like it’s a waste of time, to consciously giving it up for a period as a test of self restraint, or busy students and professionals trying to fast from their favorite distraction during finals or a pending deadline. In other cases however people completely swear off the infinite black hole that is social media and the internet in general.
On the one hand I can completely understand the reasoning behind wanting to give up something that often feels like an annoying younger sibling, constantly tapping you on the shoulder saying “excuse you, but what about me?! Pay attention to me! Me, me, me, me.” It’s an exhausting and insatiable mistress to keep happy and after having cat videos, ironic meme’s, and political arguments stuffed down your throat all day. I can see the desire to get back to “the good ol’ days”, the “before time” of going to the library when we wanted information or picking up the phone to contact a friend rather than tweeting them.
A Whole Year Without Internet Access
Recently an article was published by Today.com that chronicled the journey of a young man named Paul Miller who did just that and completely went off the grid for an entire year after feeling fed up with the overwhelming amount of information the internet and social media has to offer.
“I was so Zen. So bliss. It was just really great. I was really free from all that stress and all that distraction.”
This experiment was paid for by his employer The Verge and included a regiment of no googling, no tweets, no Facebook, no email – no nothing. The article basically says that at first he found it incredibly liberating and instead filled his time with more worthy pursuits such as reading, working out, and blah blah blah. He then slowly discovers that the aspects of his life he found overwhelming, were no more or less stressful with or without the internet factoring into the equation.
My first reaction upon reading this testimony was…well no shit Paul. Life is stressful wifi connection or not and regardless of whether you are a texting junkie whose phone is constantly blowing up or a member of a remote African tribe, life and it’s uncertainly and chaos will find you.
My first reaction upon reading this testimony was…well no shit Paul.
Everyone Shows Their Ego A Different Way
This is all good and well and certainly an interesting experiment into the modern day psyche of sensory overloaded Internet users. However I can’t help but find something a little smug about it. When I was in college I lived next door to a girl who without asking was quick to inform me that she didn’t have a TV because she wanted her living room to be a place of “conversation.” I’ve since found it typical that when people actively choose to opt out of modern day entertainment and conveniences they will be the first to tell you all about it. It’s extremely subtle but it’s there.
This is nothing more than a modern day martyrdom of disillusioned millennials that cast away on pilgrimages of self discovery, expecting to find some sort of nirvana once the white noise in their lives has been snuffed out. Not in all cases but in many I feel this is a ploy for attention and self righteous way to say “I’m above all of this.” However like Paul and most of your “I’m leaving Facebook/internet” friends they’ll more than likely come crawling back once the novelty and sense of enlightenment have worn off.
What do you think? We’d love to hear you sound off with your thoughts in the comments below!