Watch What Happens When One Guy Unplugs from the Internet for an Entire Year

Watch What Happens When One Guy Unplugs from the Internet for an Entire Year

May 02, 2013


As someone who writes professionally, there are plenty of times that I grow tired of staring at a screen. I do a lot of things to cope with it. I usually stand instead of sit, and I take breaks when I start to feel like a giant laser cat. Poverty is a great motivator to press on when I don't feel like it. If I don't write, I don't get paid. When I finish my work, I have no problem shutting the laptop (or leaving my iPhone at home, to the annoyance of many of my friends). I feel no magnetic pull to any electronic device (yes, even a TV) or social media. There's nothing wrong with those who want to live life constantly online, but I've learned that it's just not my thing. And there are plenty of people whose lives have been enriched by staying connected 24-7, like those that face hardship and have used the Internet to help make a sh*tty situation better.
Paul Miller was burnt out on modern life and wanted a break. He ditched the Internet for a year, and The Verge paid him to do it. "My goal, as a technology writer, would be to discover what the Internet had done to me over the years," he wrote about his experience. "To understand the Internet by studying it 'at a distance.' I wouldn't just become a better human, I would help us all to become better humans. Once we understood the ways in which the Internet was corrupting us, we could finally fight back." At first he enjoyed it immensely, but then he "learned how to make a new style of wrong choices off the Internet." In the end, Miller surmised that he couldn't blame the Internet for his problems. "When I return to the Internet, I might not use it well. I might waste time, or get distracted, or click on all the wrong links. I won't have as much time to read or introspect or write the great American sci-fi novel. But at least I'll be connected."
Here's a video about his experience. It would have been neat to see a technology writer live a year without technology, but hey, sleeping in a cave and living off the land isn't for everyone.

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