I recently had an opportunity to go completely off the grid for a week. Well, it wasn’t an opportunity, really, more like a forced exclusion. I visited my father in the middle of Missouri– three hours from St. Louis and three hours from Kansas City. It was out of network for my smart phone and not even on the map for Internet access.
That’s right. I went a whole week without Facebook, Twitter, email (all 7 of them), and all things cloud-based. Crazy, I know!
At first, I was in a panic. How would I keep connected with the world? How would I blog about what I was doing? How would I get my online class started? I was like an addict, freaking out about my next “fix”. However, being the trooper that I am, I soldiered on.
I left my smart phone in my room (gasp).
The first day was very hard. I kept on clutching my pocket, seeking the rectangular security that I usually found there. Feeling the absence of its assuring weight was alien to me. I felt a little lost, especially when I wanted to share with my friends what we were doing. It felt strange to not tell people what was happening on my vacation. The thing is, I found myself paying even more attention to my family and sharing with them.
It was AWESOME!
Because I was forced to let go of my Internet “leash,” I realized how much I have been missing in the present moment. It has made me think about how inundated I was getting with extraneous information. It made me realize that so many of my students probably feel exactly the same way.
When I returned from my vacation, I wasn’t as frantic to get online. I deleted my Facebook and Twitter apps from my phone. It has been three weeks, and I still don’t miss them. I still check both networking sites daily, but I am not checking every hour. It is kind of nice to not feel the urge all of the time.
Have you ever been disconnected unwillingly? If so, how did you deal with it?
Being off the grid has a funny way of showing us how dependent we are to the technology in our lives. I've tried so many times to go off the grid and I feel the same panic that you did. As great as social media is, it can make us feel like we're missing out on something if we're not constantly plugged in. It's exciting to hear that you made it through and how it changed your consumption habits. So exciting!