May 31 was rough. There was a lot going on in the world that day, that afternoon and that evening. I read it all.
I spent hours on the internet on the last day before my internet boycott. I read about China, North Korea, Donald Trump, Canada and Ireland. I read comment sections and looked at photos and went “hey, that’s a good point!” about 700 times. I absorbed content and created none of my own.
Late — much too late when the alarm is set for 5:55 a.m. — I plugged my phone in and placed it on my bedside table. Luckily, sleep came quickly.
Friday, June 1 was day one of my internet boycott. For the past five years, my morning routine had gone like this:
- Wake up, read emails, check twitter/FB/Instagram (in bed), scroll the front page of reddit
- Get out of bed, make coffee
- Sit on the couch for literally as long as I could reading reddit and browsing social media
- Get ready for work
Friday was different. I woke up, checked my email, got ready for work, made coffee and left. I didn’t touch my phone. I didn’t sit for hours. Instead, I took my newly discovered time and walked to work.
The workday passed uneventfully. There was a point towards the end of the workday when I realized my internet boycott means that I am cut off almost entirely from the news of the world. I quickly browsed the front pages of a few news websites, lying to myself that reading the headlines wasn’t really the same as being on the internet.
While skimming headlines, I noticed that nothing seemed important. Maybe I’m not so much interested in the hard-hitting journalism as I am in the train-wreck of the comment sections. I’m not addicted to information, I’m addicted to outrage.
Without the arguments, the news really didn’t appeal to me. Being informed of the world is extremely important, but I now recognize that the 24-hour news cycle is a huge part of my internet addiction.
Luckily, I now have a lot of time to think up solutions to self-created problems.
On Friday evening, I had dinner with friends, which made it easy to avoid the internet. By the time midnight rolled around, my phone had more than 50% battery left but, just like the night before, I plugged it in, placed it on my bedside table and quickly fell asleep.