Giving up the Internet at the weekend, starting last September, has been a great experiment, but one that I’m bringing to an end in 2014. My dozen or so weekends offline (how lame/first-world/etc… does that sound?) were in aid of rediscovering what the Internet is good for, and where it’s been encroaching too far on my *real life*. And interestingly, the points at which it has proven to be utterly superfluous are those in which it was aimed at augmenting or extending (embracing, extending…extinguishing?) my behaviour as a regular hyouu-maahn.
There’s some interesting takeaway, which I’d like to spend more time researching in the coming months, but a skim of my messy, messy notebook yields a few headlines:
— It just seems like social networking isn’t for me — Facebook and Twitter are both out of my pocket, and I haven’t particularly missed either, nor have I been at all tempted to invite them back. Maybe this is a true reflection of my everyday social attitudes, in which case, I’m probably not qualified to comment any deeper. But maybe there’s a lot of people who aren’t nearly as social as their online selves would portray.
— However, I’ve developed a newfound appreciation for Instagram. I think perhaps that putting content first in a unifunctional app that doesn’t have to pull any UX manoeuvres to trick you into using it lends it some real credibility. It is authentically what it is, no more, no less.
— I never realised before how reliant I was on streaming video (Netflix, NBA Game Time) for entertainment — TV for me is a total thing of the past, I could buy a set without a tuner and not skip a beat at this point. The Xbox (or Apple TV, or Roku, or RPi + XBMC etc…) are fully equipped to take over
— The internet is amazingly good for discovering music. Yes, most online music services are mostly just mainstream taste homogenisation devices (‘You liked Drake? You’ll love Drake featuring Rhianna!’), but for people with more esoteric (that is definitely not to say better) taste, the web is outstanding. (Where else would you find a documented exchange in which one Don Cab fan offers to exchange chicken parmesan for a CD-R of a Speaking Canaries record? It’s awesome.)