How does it feel to go offline?
We live in a world of chaos, communication is non-stop, and focus is just a concept we forgot. Consuming has become our normative, and information is our food. Research shows that we now consume more information in one day, than people in 19th century did in their lifetime.
Social norms dictate that if you don’t share you might as well not exist, people will forget about you, and what you don’t post on social media never happened. But, there is a difference between sharing and creating. Sharing is generally described as usage of space, while creating has a deeper purpose.
We communicate by consuming and sharing, forgetting to listen and create. And don’t get me wrong, I’m the last person you will find that will be contra modern communication system, but in a world of noise I decided to take a silent weekend. I was offline for 48 hours, and this is what I learned.
It’s hard to be offline,
Usually I’m offline only when I’m asleep, and people describe me as “the one whose phone is glued to his hands”. When I decided to stay offline one weekend I didn’t know what to expect. What I learned is that we are dependent on the Internet, and that on daily bases we need it for a lot of tasks. When I woke up the first day I realized that I can forget about learning web design, or listening to some audio books, and at that moment I started thinking about challenges that will occur during this weekend.
…but it’s a good escape
I did this for an experiment, but also to escape and have some time for myself, think about some things and just be with myself for one weekend. If you are thinking of doing the same, if you need to charge your batteries, to find time for yourself, this is the right thing to do. We all need time for ourselves and you can use this to catch up on that book that’s sitting on your night stand for ages, or use that gym membership.
Internet is not stopping you, it’s just an excuse
It is proven that millennials spend way too much time on the Internet and that growing up with Internet made millennials different, but blaming Internet (and mass media) for not getting things done is equal to blaming Alfred Nobel for dynamite killings, and all he was trying to do is find easier solution for blasting rocks. My experience taught me that no matter how much I love watching YouTube videos or chatting on Instagram, if I want to finish something by tomorrow I will, and same goes for reading a book. So, have in mind that if you don’t want to study you will find something to do offline (too bad you can’t post your cake on Instagram though).
People want to communicate
We are taught that it is social norm to communicate, have big group of friends, and if you are different you will stick out. I was always someone who enjoyed communicating with anyone, even with those who I dislike, since I believe that by doing so you live through new experiences. However, in age where communication is so tangible, it can be overwhelming. There were periods of time when I shared too much and realized that I was tired of superficially communicating with large groups, and not really connecting with many. What I realized while being offline is that no matter how much communication can be tiring, it’s much better to have the ability to communicate, then to not be able to instantly connect.
FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is so real
Before going offline I enthusiastically notified my friends, because there is a bigger chance I’ll do something if people know I’m doing it. I told them they can contact me via my phone number if they need me. What I did expect, and what did happen is that I was at times a bit uneased and experienced FOMO, which is expected for someone who is described as “the one whose phone is glued to his hands”. And, to be honest, you do miss out on a lot when you are offline, but I told my twitter community to give me a heads up if war starts, and no one did so I guess nothing that major happened.
In the end I realized Internet is a tool for communication, and limiting yourself from it is absurd, but dozing it is necessary – and you should do how you feel.
Some other things I learned are that you will sleep better (there is a myth that you shouldn’t use electronic devices one hour before going to bed), and that my phone battery standby time is so good (56hrs standby time, 3hrs usage, and I’m on 50%)!