How To Live Without The Internet: What Happens When You Unplug

How To Live Without The Internet: What Happens When You Unplug

How To Live Without The Internet: What Happens When You Unplug Life, at its best, is happening right in front of you. These experiences will never repeat themselves. These conversations are unfiltered and authentic.

Generation Z and The Internet

In January, I wrote an article titled, “When ‘iPad-Generation’ Became ‘The Internet-Generation.'” The premise of the article was the way we use social media has been evolving over the years. It didn’t start as an email-snail-post-post or even a text-snail-message-text or a blog-blog-blog, it started with the first two (e.g., text message and email) and then expanded from there. It has become almost entirely photo-enhanced with captions that aren’t always accurate or clarifying. The article mentioned the shift that was happening in terms of content creation from Generation Z (consisting of millennials and Generation Z) who is actually more “Instagram-oriented” versus Generation X, which isn’t so much.

How To Live Without The Internet: What Happens When You Unplug

What Happens When You Unplug

This is part of a series called How To Live Without The Internet and a contribution to The Next Web’s series about a happier, less obsessive way of life. At some point, most of us have experienced one or more “lost in the moment” moments of non-virtual life. Our phones are gone, our face-to-face interactions seem fresh and real, and our thoughts feel less like things to keep track of and more like things to embrace. This all makes it hard to appreciate the lasting effect of the “web-addiction” that many of us feel — even if we may think it would never happen to us.

The Digital Detox

The idea of disconnecting from the internet was somewhat foreign to me until recently. The past few years have brought a number of “digital commitments” – the constant updates, the emails, the browsing, the random Skype conversations. I was rarely present in the moment. I was always catching up with a number of other people on the other side of the planet, and it was really only now that I was really appreciating those experiences. I was back home in Canada, and reconnecting with my friends and family. Unfortunately, we aren’t yet ready for a digital detox. We want to keep up with our family and friends when we’re on the other side of the world, but how would we feel about having a simple conversation with them now, in the year 2015?

Why Unplugging Matters

For many of us, the ability to interact with each other and share experiences in this way is often the very reason we seek a connection to the Internet at all. It’s a key element of the digital-first life, whether or not we realize it, and a huge driver behind much of what we do online. “A relationship with digital requires more intimacy than a relationship with a physical human,” Rebecca Solnit wrote in the New Yorker. “Digital culture… often suggests that the best we can hope for is intimacy with ourselves and the community of like-minded souls who also visit our sites and interact with us.

How To Live Without The Internet: What Happens When You Unplug

How To Unplug

You are listening to the birds chirp and watch the clouds play hide and seek with the bright blue sky. The smell of the ocean air fills your nostrils and your body begins to warm up. You are at peace. You feel yourself start to meditate. You open your eyes, look around and notice that there are no phones, tablets or computers in sight. What have you just experienced? You are experiencing “digital detox.” You may think you’ve experienced this concept before, but to be honest, you haven’t. Although, you’ve seen the slogan about doing “digital detox” in marketing materials and seen it in articles on various social media outlets. You’ve probably even uttered the phrase at some point.

Conclusion

The internet and its associated technologies are a force for good in the world. They create tools that accelerate learning, spread knowledge and democratize information. But we should also take time to understand how they are changing the way we live, and the way we think. In doing so, we will better serve ourselves and each other. Learn how to live without the internet in the first episode of the Life, At Its Best podcast.

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