Life Without The Web

Could you live without the web? How long could you totally unplug? Do you want to? Do you long for the days before email and social networking? Recently on Facebook a friend (thanks, Alex!) shared an article that she read over at Slate written by By James Sturm called Life Without The Web. It's about the resolve of one man to sign off for four months to see how it changes his life -- work, family, etc.

Real Talk: Life Without The Web

I think most of us can relate to James when he confessed, "The question I've been wrestling with lately is whether it's all going by so fast because...of the way I've been living my life. Specifically, I've started to wonder whether that feeling might be connected to all the time I spend online. Too often I sit down to dash off a quick e-mail and before I know it an hour or more has gone by." I found his perspective interesting, you may too -- you can hop over here to read it and then pop back to leave your impressions below because I think as a community we could have a pretty neat discussion about it today if you'd like. I wonder if you can relate to any of his "issues" with being online a lot.

Perhaps you can relate to James on this point, "Over the last several years, the Internet has evolved from being a distraction to something that feels more sinister. Even when I am away from the computer I am aware that I AM AWAY FROM MY COMPUTER and am scheming about how to GET BACK ON THE COMPUTER."

After reading the article and his resolve to completely sign offline for four months I came to this conclusion: Part of me understands James' decision to go offline. I totally get it. But another part says it's like anything else -- it's a self control thing, not an internet thing. If someone has an addiction to the internet they need to figure out why and how to change and then take the necessary steps. I don't think that cold turkey will help long term because eventually he'll be back online and then the pattern will most likely emerge all over again. I think it's more important to learn balance and practice self control in everything we do -- even healthy things can be bad for us if we over-indulge. If you remove a vice without first learning self control you will only replace the vice with something else like television and book reading. And what really is the difference - watching television and reading books can be done online so doing them offline doesn't accomplish much.

So my questions are this: could you totally unplug for four months like James? Would you want to? Do you wish you could unplug completely long-term? Do you think self control plays a part in all of this and that the web can become an addiction turning an otherwise healthy activity into something unhealthy? How do you balance your life online with your life offline -- any tips for other readers who may also be a bit frustrated by all of the time they spend plugged in?

(image: holly becker for decor8)

What are your thoughts?