Thursday, December 11, 2014

Twenty-four Hours with Only a Phone

My wife and I tried an experiment. I came up with the idea that maybe if we used our smart phones just as phones for 24 hours, we might experience more life. We might spend less time staring at screens and more time seeing what's around us. We might even . . . talk to each other.

It didn't work that way. From 10:00 P.M. on a Thursday to 10:00 P.M. on a Friday, we turned off data and WiFi on our iPhones. This cut us off from the internet: no Facebook, no Twitter, no Words with Friends (seemingly my wife's current obsession).

What did we learn. I learned it was annoying and inconvenient. If I wanted to check the weather, I had to get on a computer. If I wanted to check Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media, I had to get on my computer. And this was less of a burden for my wife than for me. Her computer is kept on the main floor of the house, mine is in the basement meaning I had to go down a flight of stairs anytime I wanted to use a computer. I pretty much just didn't bother.

In lieu of doing something on my phone, I read, watched TV, or did work. There was no magical improvement of my life. As I said, it was mostly annoying and inconvenient.

I think the reason my experiment didn't have the results I wanted was simply that technology makes our lives better. I can check the weather at a glance. I can update Twitter, Facebook, etc. without having to sit down in front of a computer. I can search the web from my recliner. Cutting myself off from technology did not return my life to a pastoral blissful existence. It was simply a bother.

Maybe the next step is to cut off internet completely.


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