Monday, October 12, 2009

Seeking a why

I got two sobering emails from two friends who often present the voice of reason.

From IGC:
 ...the question is whether the negative repercussions are worth it - -dissertation, email, plane booking, job searching, newspapers, etc.   I think it’s a great idea.   One option would be to limit it to 15 minutes a day, for absolutely necessary things, like emailing your professor.  Or 1 hour once a week or something.
and OD:
1. What is the point of this experiment? What would you be accomplishing by staying off of the internet?

2. I think that this might be crippling and harmful to your career. I'm not quite sure where the future of journalism lies, but I think that it will have something to do with the internet. I am saying this out of ignorance because I don't know anything about journalism, but isn't the internet helpful in getting in touch with sources, doing background research, getting your pieces published in on-line format, etc?

3. I think that not using the internet would be a big imposition on [AR], who presumably would have to post things on-line for you and take care of many of your other internet needs.

4. Not using the internet would make communication with others very difficult. Maybe your friends and family would understand, but potential employers or contacts might find this very annoying and may not consider you for opportunities because they will be forced to go too far out of their way to contact you. (Maybe you wouldn't want to work for these people, anyway, but so much gets decided/done via e-mail these days- not everyone is into picking up the phone).

5. Maybe you could just give up some aspects of the internet. Like give up Facebook or web-surfing for no reason. Maybe you could just use the internet for work and for e-mail.

So far, two ways to work around the logistical and professional difficulties of this proposition. First, moderate -- do it halfway, by staying online for just 10 minutes per day, or one hour per week, or only for work related research -- and second, cease and desist.

I just don't know if I can moderate. And just the anxiety that I may not be able to cut back to only 10 mintues a day or an hour per week -- not knowing if I can resist the urge to check Facebook once I'm on my work email account -- means I have a problem.

OD asks the same thing I've been asking myself: What is the point?

What would make it worthwhile? If I give up time, access, convenience, then I would need to gain something at least comparable in exchange. Time spent on different activities, a different type of access, a new definition of convenience.

Here's what it comes down to: Why am I thinking about giving up the internet for a year? I need to understanding the why before I can tackle the when and the how.

[image via pashnit]

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