NOW / FREE STYLE SCRAPS
A few minutes on the Internet can easily turn into hours. For me, they turned into all of 2008.
I spend at least eight or 10 hours a day online. Beyond work hours, I use a MacBook and BlackBerry almost incessantly.
So in 2009, my resolution is to go offline.
Well, to a degree.
I make my living as the editor of NOW Magazine's website, and I don't expect that to change any time soon. But working online is one thing. Sending a MySpace message to Kanye West's DJ to ask what brand his jacket is during a dinner party is another. (It's a Moncler.)
My infatuation with the World Wide Web isn't quite an addiction, and it's not exactly abnormal either.
People my age, who grew up while the Internet was growing up, have similar dependencies. In our teens, we made Geocities sites and threw AOL promo CDs around like frisbees. Lately, our attention's moved to blogspot, Movable Type, Tumblr and Twitter. And that's not even scratching the surface of instant messaging (from ICQ to Google Chat) or music downloading (Napster to Kazaa).
It all boils down to the infinite allure of information, media, interaction and the instantaneousness of it all. Unlike almost everything else, the Internet is never-ending. You can sit in front of a computer for as little as five minutes and things will happen: emails will come in, hot remixes will be posted, new viral videos will get leaked, a picture of Prince Harry with his hand down his pants will surface. It can be hard to tear yourself away.
So I've devised the following steps for my digital detox:
• Instead of immediately emailing or texting, save the conversation for a face-to-face encounter.
• Limit checking email on my BlackBerry to three times a day.
• Go cold turkey on status updates.
• No YouTube-ing at parties, no matter how funny it is.
• Match time in front of a MacBook with time outdoors.
• Listen to music on my record player instead an iPod Touch.
• Turn to low-tech diversions like Connect Four or darts.
• Concentrate on a real tan instead of a pixel tan.
• Sing songs and watch sunsets and feed little animals in the woods, like in a Disney cartoon.
This list is only a list. The end game of weaning myself offline is about balance.
It would be unreal to expect actual life to offer the excitement of the entire Internet.
But I wonder if having more intercourse with the brick-and-mortar world will make the Internet even more exciting. In 2009, I intend to find out.