Is it possible to 'quit' the Internet?I used to be in love with the Internet. I thought that it would answer all the world's problems, linking us all together, letting us meet people from all over the world and learn basically whatever we wanted. I really believed that things like Free Software and other free culture movements would change the world forever. To some extent, they have.
But you know what? I don't love the internet anymore. It takes up too much of my time, It introduces too many distractions, and it has deceived me in innumerable tiny little insidious ways that Fox News *wishes* they could harness.
Technology is supposed to serve people, not make people serve it. It's true the potential is there for that with the resources we've built up, but that's like saying Nuclear bombs prevent a third world war.
I've made enough friends now (mostly somehow through the internet) where I feel like if I unplugged, I would not lose the social network that I've gained through things like programming groups, local music and art scenes, and other random 'hookups' the internet has provided me. I feel like I could live a normal life without the internet. I don't feel like I'd shrivel up and die without knowing what's hot on Technorati.
That having been said, as a hobbyist first and later as a professional in software development, especially being active in the Open Source community, I'm definitely pretty well stuck in the web. So here's my plan: Quit using computers and the internetentirely within 10 years. If that's not humanly possible, I'll go as far as I can with it.
Here's my vague plan for how to do it, some of this will have direct impact on people very soon:
[/*]Now: Stop using the computer/Internet for anything except commerce,communication, research, and work immediately. This means no YouTube videos, no pr0n, and no addictive flash games. I'll need to create some exceptions here to keep my sanity: I will still download music, and blogging is communication.
[/*]Stop using all forms of instant messaging after 1 month. If I make it past the first hurdle, this should be easy. I don't count IRC when used for work or for helping people as breaking this rule.
[/*]Withdraw from all social networks within 3 months.
[/*]Stop blogging after a year.
[/*]Find a new line of work within 5 years. Hey, with all this free time from not doing random web surfing, and with a planned *very* early retirement, this should make me a most effective freelancer for the time being! At this point, my internet usage will ideally be commerce, open source development, and email only.
[/*]Throw out any computers I own, grow a long beard, and live in the woods after 10 years. I mean, by then I should be fully useless to society, right? :)[/*][/list]Am I kidding about all of this stuff? I honestly don't know. I got really disgusted by the fact that I went to a barbecue the other day and several kids were fighting over using two laptops to check their Facebook and myspace. When I was growing up, I was considered the socially awkward one for having such a fixation with computers, it's a major WTF to see that turned on its head.
Also, I think it'd be awesome to be able to say. "Oh, the Internet? Yeah, I haven't used it in like... 14 years" :)
So let's pretend I'm serious and see how it goes. Here's how you can help me:
If possible, try to arrange to see me in person to talk about things rather than via the net.[/*]If not possible, force me to overcome my disdain of phones[/*]If you're a friend outside of the US, help me get over my fear of Skype[/*]Don't email me pr0n or flash cartoons[/*]Write me letters in the mail. Yeah, the postal mail. Send me code, I'll debug it, it'll come back to you in a month. I'm only half-kidding.
[/*]Until I'm off the IM networks, consider emailing or phoning instead of IMing me[/*]I'm still happy to see blog comments until I stop blogging :)
[/*][/list]Posted by Gregory Brown at 3:37 PM Labels: quit the internet
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