For this book giveaway, I asked the following question, “What would you do if the internet was broken for 3 days?” The answers ranged from “I’d catch up on reading with my dog curled up next to me.” to “Spend time in the backyard with my daughter rather than flicking through social media like I am now.”
The answers to my question made me a little sad. It’s as if we forgot that instead of obsessively checking email, comparing our lives away on Facebook, or endlessly scrolling and searching we could …
- spend time with family
- read books
- write letters
- take naps
- do yoga
- go hiking
- write books
- take photos
- hang out with friends
- make beautiful meals
Reading Bored and Brilliant: How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your Most Productive and Creative Self by Manoush Zomordi made me think about what we are missing by staying on the internet trying not to miss anything — and how it’s all part of the plan. In Bored and Brilliant, Golden Krishna, an expert in user experience at Google says, “The only people who refer to their customers as “users” are drug dealers and technologists.”
After commenting about what they’d do if the internet was broken, a few people said, “why don’t I just turn off the internet and go do these things?” So, why don’t we?
I know, I know … this feels weird to ask because I’m writing to you on the internet but, what would you do if the internet was broken for 2 hours, 1 day, 3 days, or a whole week? The internet isn’t broken but maybe the way we engage is broken.
Here are a few things that might help while you are on the internet. I’ll be practicing them myself.
Curate your social feeds, email, and browsing by unsubscribing to things that don’t matter to you.
Track how much time you are spending online. Don’t estimate but instead, set a timer. Be aware of where your time is really going. Set boundaries around how you engage. For instance, only read blogs once a week, or don’t check email or Facebook after 7pm. Create rules that help you engage more mindfully.
It’s easy to say harsh things via social media, email or other platforms that you wouldn’t say in real life. Don’t go there. As author Glennon Doyle says, “There are not two of you- Internet you and Real you. There is only one of you. If you aren’t kind on the Internet, then you’re not kind.”
Mandy Hale says, “You don’t have to show up to every argument you’re invited to.” On the internet we show up to arguments we weren’t invited to by overreacting. We overreact because we are tired, hungry, or simply over saturated with information. We make things that mean nothing to us mean everything. Let’s show up for what matters and simply dismiss the rest.
Experiment and notice how you engage online. See what it feels like to take a day off, or remove the Facebook app from your phone. Bored and Brilliant offers some great recommendations and challenges, including the original Bored and Brilliant challenge to help you learn more about your relationship with the tech world.
The Internet is Breaking Us
The internet isn’t broken but maybe all the time we are spending there is breaking us. Perhaps we are compromising our relationships, best work, and mental health with our hyper connection to the internet.
Instead of “What would you do if the internet was broken?” maybe a better question is “What are you sacrificing because the internet isn’t broken?”
Maybe it wouldn’t hurt to pretend that it is for two hours, one day, three days, or a whole week.