Posts Tagged ‘paul miller’

Internet Addiction ::

Last Friday, I finally got round to watching the TED talk embedded above. It’d been sitting in a Chrome tab for a couple of weeks before that — 18 minutes repeatedly deferred in favour of bite sized online entertainment: some weird Twitter, another Kobe vs LeBron video on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram. Of course, I knew all about Paul Miller’s experiment in Internet abstinence from the time that it was announced (online, naturally) and followed his reports throughout the time he was ‘offline’, which I certainly found to be curious, but never anything more. A weird thing happened when I watched his talk, though — I really felt like I got what he was talking about. I’d read about all this stuff in his columns, but this time it really resonated.

Writing this now, I wonder if perhaps I subconsciously place greater value in communication that feels more tangible, like video shot in a lecture setting, than yet another online dispatch. I’m certainly curious about the shift in my ascription of credibility, but that’s tangental, for now at least. What really spoke to me about Paul’s talk was the feeling of stress, the inhibition of creativity, and the almost adversarial nature of his relationship with the Internet. It sounded unhealthy, and it sounded like my relationship with the Internet.

It dawned on me pretty quickly while watching the talk that I am hopelessly addicted to the Internet. Paul talks about people not knowing what boredom is like any more, and he’s absolutely on the money — the slightest break in my concentration while trying to do something that requires some effort, and it’s CMD-space -> ‘t’ -> enter (open Twitter), or CMD-Tab -> CMD-T -> ‘n’ -> enter (switch to Chrome, open in a new tab). These are very real, very practised neural reflexes — a mental ‘panic button’ that my brain pushes at the slightest hint of boredom, and often times in intellectually taxing situations.

My name is Zebedee and I’m an Internet addict.

This was an important realisation for me, and it’s something I feel the need to regain control over. It also sounds like perfect, if a little ironic, fodder for a recurring series of blog posts (of which this is the first) in which I attempt to understand my Internet problem, and chronicle my voyage of self discovery.