About three weeks ago I wrote about how I was going to shut down a bunch of my internet usage – particularly Google Reader, Twitter, and Convore, all of which take up considerable amounts of my “down time” when I near my computer. Since then, I haven’t really looked at any of those things. Thousands of feeds have passed unread by me. Tweets by the gallon and tumbled into the abyss. And so on and so forth.
I’d love to make some bold proclamation about how it has changed and revolutionised my life, but I don’t actually feel all that different. I do notice a reduction in the information anxiety I used to go through from the sheer volume of material to process, but that positive is balanced by the negative that I now know next to nothing about the world as represented on my personal internet.
This is most clearly demonstrated by my experiences playing QRANK since tuning it all out. I got considerably worse. Basically, I now haven’t heard of almost anything contemporary in the quiz questions. My scores haven’t suffered as much as I thought they would, mostly because you can reason things out a lot of the time, and I wasn’t exactly a genius to begin with. But there’s definitely that feeling of disconnection from “what the world is talking about”. I was surprised to find out William and whasthername were getting married today, for instance. They kissed twice on the balcony (I saw that on Al Jazeera – and I counted, it was indeed twice).
On the balance, I find myself not really caring about the lack of information inputs into my brain. I suspect that’s more to do with my general apathy than to some new form of information-health I’ve achieved. I did manage to read a book for the first time in a long while, though, which was good, though it was a book I’d already read (John Gray’s “Straw Dogs”, a must read). Perhaps that’s a sign of some regained level of attention span, but it probably has more to do with sitting for hours in the sun in Place des Vosges.
Basically, as a social hermit, I’m pretty used to not being in touch with much of anything in my immediate, local sphere, so being an internet/information hermit has felt mostly like an extension of that. I continue to live mostly inside my own head, my apartment, my local harddrive, and that continues to be largely what I want out of life. I’m undoubtedly missing out on great things, but I’ll survive that. I’ll take the peace of mind of not having to read the torrential outpouring of intelligence from the internet, it was mostly just intimidating anyway.
All of which is pretty ironic, as I return to eking out the drips of thought I can muster from my little spigot here.