The following post is written thoughtfully and clearly by a friend, Rory Holland, who loves the connected life. He is writing this from a communal farm where he is learning organic farming methods with his wife, Lisa. His thinking serves as a significant confrontation to many of us who flourish (or at least think we do) in digital connectedness. You can subscribe to Rory’s blog at An Examined Life.
It’s after dinner and a good number of students are sitting in the common room, their faces lit by screens, taking advantage of the evening wifi. I’m glowing right there with them.
Those from Europe & Australia are on phones and Skype with friends and relations back home. All those I love are asleep in their time zones. Asynchronous communication will have to do.
There could be internet all the time, but the folks running this place have chosen to only turn on the modem in the evening after dinner. Who are they to determine when I go online?
I can spend hours on the internet; the endorphin rush of email, Facebook messages and Twitter – the curiousity of reading news sites and doing constant Google searches – all suck me into a black hole of semi-important information. Just one more look to see if anything new has happened in the last thirty seconds….
But here, in the last five days on the farm, I’ve finished a book and am on to the next. I spend my idle time looking around, walking the roads, and talking with Lisa and my new friends.
My digital life has become obese. Over time I’ve replaced much of the nutrition of ‘real life’ experience with the fatty goodness of social media.. I now find myself pretty much on the ‘analogue’ diet.
I’m ok with it, but I’m not gonna lie, it does take some getting used to not having anything to do while standing in line – except, well – stand.