The return of Paul Miller

Paul first visited network in 12 years. At 14, he worked as a web designer. The 26 tired and decided to live for a year without the Internet. And back


I was wrong.
A year ago, I left the Internet. I thought that it adversely affects my productivity. I thought that it lacks meaning. I thought that he was "corrupted my soul».

A year has passed since I "sёrfil on the web" or "check mail" or "laykal 'something figuratively instead of the usual" thumbs up. " I learned to be disconnected, as planned, I am free from the Internet.
Now I'm going to tell you how it all solved my problem. I was going to be enlightened, more "real." A more perfect.
In fact, now 8 pm and I just woke up. I slept all day, woke up eight messages on the voice mail from friends and colleagues. I went to my usual cafe for lunch, game Knicks, two of my papers and a copy of The New Yorker. And now I see "Toy Story" in passing staring and blinking at the flashing cursor in the text document in the hope that he will write himself, will generate those insights in my life that I could not reach.
I did not want to meet this Paul at the end of my annual trip.
At the beginning of 2012 I was 26 years old and I was exhausted. I wanted to escape from the modern life - the endless cycle of incoming
of e-mail, unceasing flow of information from the World Wide Web, muffling my sanity. I wanted to escape.

I thought that the Internet can be neestesstvennym state for us, the people, or at least for me. Maybe I was too addicted to handle or too impulsive to limit yourself. I always used the Internet to 12 years and can not imagine my life without him with 14. I went from newsboy to the web designer, and then to process the writer (technology writer) in less than 10 years. I lived with a sense of continuity and connection information indefinitely. I was wondering what else life has to offer. "Real life", so to speak, waiting for me on the other side of the web browser.

My plan was to get away from work, to move to his parents' home, read books, write books, and lie on the couch in between. In one fell swoop, I would overcome all crises come close to me. I have found this Paul somewhere far beyond the noise and would become the best version of yourself.

But for some reason, The Verge wanted to pay me for the care of the Internet. I could stay in New York and share their discoveries with the world to broadcast their lives free from the Internet, netizens, distribute wisdom with its high tower.

My goal as a technology writer to know that the Internet did to me over the years. Understand the Internet, studying it "at a distance". I would not just become a better person, I would have helped all of us to become better people. Once we understand how the Internet corrupts us, we are finally able to withstand this.

23:59, April 30, 2012 I pulled your Ethernet-cable, disabled Wi-Fi and replaced smarfton a simple "dialer". It was a really good feeling. I felt freedom.

A few weeks later I found myself in a crowd of 60,000 ultra-Orthodox Jews, crammed to the city of New York glade to know the dangers of the Internet by the world's most respected rabbi. Really. Outside the stadium I saw a man waving one of my articles on the care of the Internet. He was delighted to meet with me. I decided to get away from the Internet for many reasons similar to his religion, to express concerns about the modern world.

"He reprograms our relationships, our emotions and our sensitivity," - said one of the rabbis. - "It destroys our patience. It turns children into clicks vegetables ».

It must have been amazing.

I had a dream

It started well, I tell you. I really limited myself and have fun. My life has been full of unexpected events: meetings, Frisbee, cycle trips and Greek literature. Without a clear understanding of how it happened, I wrote half of his novel, and almost every week sent an essay to The Verge. In one of the first months of my boss I expressed slight disappointment, as I wrote, which never happened before or since.

I dropped 15 pounds without any effort. I bought new clothes. People kept telling me how good I looked, how happy I looked. During one of the examinations my therapist literally patted himself on the back.

I was a little bored, a little lonely, but found miraculous changes in their lives. In August, I wrote: "Boredom and lack of motivation forcing me to do things that are really important to me, such as writing or spending time with other people." I was completely sure that I have everything under control, and all talked about it.

After my head cleared, increased attention span. In my first or second month in a 10-page "Odyssey" was hard labor. Now I can read 100 pages in one sitting, and if I read easily and fascinated, even a few hundred.

I have learned to accept the idea, for which little blog post, but rather the size of a novel presentation. Having emerged from the anechoic chamber of Internet culture, I discovered that my ideas evolve in new directions. I felt different, a little eccentric, and I loved it.

Freed from their favorite smart phone, I had to get out of the shell in difficult social situations. It turns out that without his constant distraction, I was more attentive to other people. I could no longer keep the relationship on Twitter - I had to find them in real life. My sister previously tried in vain to talk to me while I was listening to her only half now adores our conversations. She says I'm suspended less emotionally and more able to take care of it - well, I became less idiot than I was.

Besides, I do not know how to relate it to the rest, but I cried while watching "Les Miserables».

In those first few months, it seemed that my hypothesis was confirmed. Internet keeps me from the true self, the best, Paul. I stuck a fork into a socket and lit the light.

The harsh reality

When I left the Internet, I thought that my magazine articles will be something like "I used a paper map today, and it was rzhachno!" Or "Paper books? What is this ?! "or" Does anyone have downloaded Wikipedia drive? ". That did not happen.

Most of the practical aspects of this year have gone unnoticed. I had no problems with the orientation in New York and in other places I've been buying paper maps. It turned out that paper books are really good. I did not compare the ticket prices, but simply called at the Delta, and took what they offered.

In general, most of the things I've learned, you can learn how the Internet, and without it - no need to go on a one-year online diet to realize that your sister has feelings.

The big change has become a "normal" post. This year I started a post office box (PO Box), I can not tell you how much joy he brought to me, being clogged with letters from readers. It is something tangible, and this can not convey electronic postcard.

Charming, neat handwriting one girl wrote on this piece of paper: "Thank you retired from the Internet." Not as an insult but as a compliment. This letter is very much to me. But then I felt bad, because I never wrote letters of response.

And then, for some reason, even trips to the post office began to work for me. I began to fear the letters and was ready to send them back. As it turned out, a dozen letters a week at COG comparable with hundreds of e-mail a day. And so it happened in most areas of my life. Good book motivation required to read whether there is at me Internet as an alternative or not. Exit the house for a meeting with people demanded just as much courage, how much and usually.

At the dawn of 2012, I learned to take the wrong decisions in a new way, without the Internet. I abandoned his good habits and find new flaws. Instead of turning boredom and lack of motivation in learning and creativity, I turned to the side of the passive consumption and social seclusion.

In the new year I did not ride a bike as often. My Frisbee collects dust. For weeks I did not meet with people. My favorite place - a sofa. I fill up his feet on the coffee table, playing video games and listening to an audiobook. I opt for some meaningless game like Borderlands 2 or 3 Skate, while my brain relaxes under the audiobook, or simply silence.

People who are in need of other

So, moral choices are not so changed with the absence of the Internet. For practical things like paper maps, and shopping is not so difficult to get used to. People are still happy to point you in the right direction. But without the internet it was really hard to find people. Make a phone call is more difficult than to send the e-mail. It's easier to send an SMS or meet in the videochat than come to someone back home. Not that these obstacles are insurmountable. I overcame them at the beginning, but was unable to follow through.

It's hard to say what really has changed. I think those first few months were so good because I felt no pressure from the Internet. My freedom was palpable. But when I stopped to look at his life in the context of "I do not use the Internet," is the existence of the Web has become a routine, and began to show my worst side.

I could stay at home for several days at a time. My phone would run out, and no one could reach me. At some point, parents tired of wondering whether I live or have not, and they sent my sister to my home. On the Internet, it was easy to convince people that I am alive and well, it was easy to communicate with colleagues, to be an important part of society.

So much was covered with writing pages ridiculing the false concept of "friend on Facebook», but I can tell you that "each Facebook» better than nothing. My best "friend at a distance", the only one with whom I called up every week for years, moved to China this year, and since then I have not spoken with him. My best friend, who lives in New York, just melted in my work, while I could not keep up with the collapse of our plans.

I dropped out of the flow of life.

In March this year, I ironically attended the conference in New York called "theorizing the World Wide Web." It was full of graduate students and other scientists acting with complex reports on the definition of reality that looks like feminism in the post-digital era, and other such things. At first I was a bit smug, because I thought that they deal only with theories imply that the Internet was around, while I was learning the isolated life. But after I talked to Nathan Jurgenson (Nathan Jurgenson), a theorist who helped organize the conference. He drew attention to the fact that there are many in the virtual "real" and is full of real "virtual". When we use the phone or the computer, we are still the people of flesh and blood, occupying space and time. When we we skip somewhere in the field, dropping somewhere far from their gadgets, Internet still affects our thinking, "I Tvitnu about it when I get back?».

My plan was to leave the Internet and thus to find the "real" Paul, get in touch with the "real" world, but the real Paul and the real world is already inextricably linked to the Internet. I'm not the fact that my life has not changed since the rejection of the Internet, and the fact that it was not real life.

Family time

A couple of weeks ago I went to Colorado to meet with his brother before it moved to Qatar with the Air Force. He had a small child, five-month polnoschёchka named Kasia (Kacia), which I had seen only in photographs kindly sent by mail to my sister in law. I spent with my brother one day and the next morning went with him to the airport. Stunned, I watched him kiss goodbye to his wife and children. It is unfair that he had to leave. He was a hero to his children, and I hated the fact that he would have to leave them for 6 months.

My colleagues Stephen Jordan and I met in Colorado to go on a road trip back to New York. The idea was to compress all my years in a small documentary and spend hours on the road for a discussion of what happened to me and what will happen later. Before we left, I spent a little more time with the children, trying his best to help his sister in law, to be super-uncle. Then we had to leave.

On the road, Jordan and Stephen asked me questions. "Do you think you were too hard on yourself?" - "Yes." "Was this a successful year?" - "No." "What do you want to do when you return to the Internet?" - "I want to try to others».

We made a stop in Huntington, West Virginia, to meet my hero, Justin McElroy (Justin McElroy) of the Polygon. I met Nathan Jurgenson in Washington. I thought a lot about what I could do well in the network in those things in which it is defeated. I asked for advice.

What I do know is that I can not blame the Internet, or any circumstances my problems. I still have many of my priorities, I had to care: family, friends, work and training. I have no guarantee that I'll stick them in return - most likely, will not, to be honest. But at least I know that the Internet is not to blame. I will know who is responsible for everything and who could fix it.

On Tuesday, the last night of our trip, we stopped by the river flowing from New York to take a picture Manhettenovskogo skyline from New Jersey. It was a cold, clear night, I leaned against the railing of the bridge flimsy and tried to take a comfortable position for the shot. I was so close to New York, so close to completion. I yearned for the quiet solitude of his apartment and a little afraid to go back to isolation. Two weeks later I went back to the Internet. I felt defeated. I felt like I was again let down his hand. But I knew the Internet - this is the place where I should be.

12:00, 1 May 2013

I have read many blog posts, magazine articles and books about the Internet makes us lonely, or foolish, or stupid and lonely once he started to believe them. I wanted to find out what the Internet "did to me," that I could not resist. But the Internet - it is not the individual race, it's something that we do together, with each other. Internet where people are.

On my last day in Colorado, I sat down next to his five-year niece Kazayey (Keziah, oh, these names - approx. Per.) And tried to explain to her what the Internet. She had never heard of it, but a lot of talking on Skype with their grandparents. I asked if she was interested in why I did not call her on Skype this year. She was interested in.
"I thought you did not want to" - she said.
With tears in his eyes, I drew her, what the Internet. Drew computers, telephones and televisions with thin lines connecting them. "These lines - the Internet." I showed her my computer drew a line to it and erased it.
"I spent a year without using the Internet," - I told her. - "But now I come back and I can call you back.»
When I go online, I probably will not use it correctly. Maybe I'll take the time to be distracted or not to click on those links. I will not have much time for reading, writing or self-the great American science fiction novel.

But at least I'll be in touch.

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