And Then Came Facebook

I unplugged my home internet last Friday evening with the full intention of reconnecting Sunday night. It’s Tuesday and I still haven’t turned it back on.  After having the most delightful weekend,  I vowed never to tether myself to a modem ever again. Ever.

I can’t remember what finally pushed me over the edge, but I do know it’s been a long time coming. To start with, I’m not the most tech-saavy person.  I was one of the last people I know to buy a PC (and CD player and DVD player), but I really enjoyed playing around on it back in the day.  The web was small and slow, and I marveled at everything site I found. Paint was magical, and I still waste endless hours playing Solitaire. Like with everyone else, I suspect, it soon became my shopping mall, my music source, my doctor and my personal financial advisor.  It infiltrated every aspect of my life, but still I was OK.

no internetThen came Facebook.  I have engaged in a battle of wills with this site since day 1. I shut down my account no less than 6 times, vowing each time to make it permanent. I just don’t have that kind of will power.  Everyone was there, and I wanted to be there, too.  Sad as it sounds, I just didn’t want to be left out. I still don’t.

So here we are today.  Facebook knows more about me than my mother, and it is selling this information to the highest bidder.  The web is so vast and mired in mindless gossip and trivia that surfing is no longer enjoyable. But this isn’t even the worst of it.  What I find intolerable is that the internet is making me just plain stupid.  I Google for answers when I should be thinking for myself.  It (meaning service providers & advertisers) advises me on what shows to watch and graciously streams them for me hour upon hour.  It knows what music I will like, the styles I should emulate, what books to read and who I should vote for in the next election.

It is better at living my life than I am.  I’m just plugged in and living vicariously.

Just to be clear here:  technology is indispensable, particularly in business. I cannot fathom going back to paper and pencil. Medical, communications, transportation, engineering…every industry benefits from technological advances.  I get this. But there is a line for all of us, and I just met mine.

So, what does this little rant mean?  Nothing more than I’m getting rid of internet at home.  I switched Netflix back to DVD-only so I will be forced to be more selective of what I watch.  If I need the internet after work hours, I will just toddle down to my local coffee shop or the library and use wi-fi on my soon-to-be-purchased tablet.  Uncharacteristically, this change has nothing to do with budgeting, but I will enjoy the money saved after canceling all my internet-related services  (Earthlink, Carbonite, SpyHunter & Pandora).  I can build an impressive music library with those savings alone!

I will continue to blog and post pictures to Flickr. I’ll even visit Facebook from time-to-time.  But I am officially reclaiming my personal time as my own. And it’s about time.

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