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Could You Go for a Year Without Internet Access? Paul Miller Reports on His Experiment…

Could you sign off of the Internet today—right now, in fact—and not come back online for 12 months? If you are a reader of CircleID, odds are pretty good that the answer is probably an emphatic “No!” This is, after all, a site for “Internet Infrastructure” and for most of us visiting the site (or writing here) the “Internet” is completely woven into the fabric of our lives… and we have a hard time thinking of a life without it.

Paul Miller did, though. Paul, a writer at The Verge, signed off on April 30, 2012, and just rejoined the rest of us this week… and being a writer naturally wrote a long piece about it: “I’m still here: back online after a year without the internet

As he says in the article and the accompanying video, he was thinking of an escape:

I thought the internet might be an unnatural state for us humans, or at least for me. Maybe I was too ADD to handle it, or too impulsive to restrain my usage. I’d used the internet constantly since I was twelve, and as my livelihood since I was fourteen. I’d gone from paperboy, to web designer, to technology writer in under a decade. I didn’t know myself apart from a sense of ubiquitous connection and endless information. I wondered what else there was to life. “Real life,” perhaps, was waiting for me on the other side of the web browser.

I won’t quote much more of the article because I think it’s worth a read in its entirety. I did, though, find this an interesting quote:

My plan was to leave the internet and therefore find the “real” Paul and get in touch with the “real” world, but the real Paul and the real world are already inextricably linked to the internet. Not to say that my life wasn’t different without the internet, just that it wasn’t real life.

and this:

But the internet isn’t an individual pursuit, it’s something we do with each other. The internet is where people are.

I think of my own life, and the connections that I have, and the connectedness I have with so many people and with so many different facets of my life. Sure, I could go without the Internet for a year… but would I want to?

By Dan York, Author and Speaker on Internet technologies - and on staff of Internet Society

Dan is the Director, Online Content, for the Internet Society but opinions posted on CircleID are his own. View more of Dan’s writing and audio here.

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