Matt Smith's End of the Spectrum

Melbourne-based writer and journalist. Purveyor of finally crafted radio plays. A Muppet of a man.

Switch off – it won't kill you

First published on Crikey on 5th August, 2010

When I woke up this morning I checked both my email accounts, updated my Twitter status, and had a shower. In that order. I spend all day in front of the computer for work, I have an iPhone that allows me to check email on the run, and I usually turn on my computer shortly after getting home from work. I find myself checking work email when I should be socialising, having more social interaction with my friends over Twitter than in real life, and possibly the worst crime, sending email to someone who’s sitting right next to me.

Hi, my name is Matt Smith, and I’m an internet addict.

It’s a terribly daunting thing to step away from all of this, but it’s something that everyone should try, just to see what life is like on the other side. Since you’re reading Crikey it’s safe to assume you have some exposure to the internet, and there are those out there who are more ‘connected’ than I am. But how much connection can you take before you become disconnected from reality?

Preparing for a weekend of disconnection can be unsettling, particularly if it’s become a large part of your life. The key here is to plan your downtime carefully, and don’t give yourself the chance to become distracted. You could go to the art gallery. You could go for a jog. You could spend time with your friends and family. You could try and make a dent in the pile of books that have been gathering dust. Without the internet to distract you, you will find yourself with the gift of time. This is the way our grandparents live, and maybe how we were meant to live, before the days of 3G, wireless and Bluetooth.

I’m not going to say that it will be easy. I found myself nervously swiping my phone unlocked when I had a spare moment, only to force myself to put it down. At one point, late at night, I awoke in a cold sweat convinced I’d heard an email arriving. There are many others who would feel the same. What made it worthwhile for me was the feeling that I hadn’t wasted the weekend. I’d made the most of my precious downtime, I’d carpe’d my diem, and no matter what happened in the online world while I was away, life goes on.

Email will always be there, waiting for me when I return.


One comment on “Switch off – it won't kill you

  1. Renee Spiteri
    August 22, 2010

    Where do I sign up for IAA….. Internet Addicts Anonymous?

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This entry was posted on August 11, 2010 by in lifestyle, technology and tagged , , .
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