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The Verge writer Paul Miller quit the internet for a year. How did he get on?

tech blogger Paul MIller

Real talk time.

I think anyone of a certain age has thought about quitting the internet. If you were born in the mid to late eighties, most of your adolescent life onwards has been dominated by its rise as a social and cultural megalith, and for something essentially “not real” to have such an effect on your life is truly breathtaking when you think about it. If you’re older than this particular age group then you’ve known a world without www-dots, and if you’re under then you’re probably still of the opinion that anything where you can find porn and music for free is the best thing ever.

I’m slap bang in the middle of my twenties, so this story sort of hit home. Paul Miller, tech writer for The Verge, a technology, science, art, and culture blog, got to a point early last year where his internet-induced malaise made him decide to test whether or not the world wide web was having a negative effect on his life.

[quote-symbol symbol1]It’s a been a year now since I “surfed the web” or “checked my email” or “liked” anything with a figurative rather than literal thumbs up. I’ve managed to stay disconnected, just like I planned. I’m internet free.

And now I’m supposed to tell you how it solved all my problems. I’m supposed to be enlightened. I’m supposed to be more “real,” now. More perfect.

The traditional view of people on the net is that they’re one or more of overweight/socially inept/nerdy and reclusive. Whilst they’re not problems exclusive to heavy internet users, it’s hard to argue that spending 8+ hours a day sitting at a computer can exacerbate these problems, so Paul took it upon himself to cut off the internet from May 1st 2011 – May 1st 2012, and see if it changed his life for the better.

I sometimes wonder the same thing. I have a day job, and then come home and spend all evening/large portions of my weekend on The Monolith. It ain’t a walk in the park, let me tell you, and I often feel I’m neglecting the real parts of my life, instead feeling I have to shout into, and hope someone appreciates it.

Miller now the subject of a short film for his employers, published on his return, which is available below, and also wrote his first online article on the subject. The results are interesting, for sure. Did he find inner peace? Is he glad to be back? Did he miss it, or is this just a flying return on his way to something more exciting?

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