We know the web is filled with disingenuous sycophants and, if you have any sort of noble life on the Internets, you know all about Hate Mail.  If you’re busy and successful, you hold your breath while writing email and, finally, you feel the twinge of not being able to tweak when you email Inbox is empty.

What, then, do we make of a guy that decides to disconnect from his second life online and re-establish his first life unwired?

EARLIER this year, I became tired of my usual morning ritual of
spending hours catching up on e-mail. So I did something drastic to
take back control of my productivity.

I stopped using e-mail most of the time. I quickly realized that the
more messages you answer, the more messages you generate in return. It
becomes a vicious cycle. By trying hard to stop the cycle, I cut the
number of e-mails that I receive by 80 percent in a single week.

Why does this guy think he’s more special than the rest of us and who gave him the wire clippers to cut away the misery that is our lives online?

How dare he dismiss our communication addiction and, frankly, he should be punished in some way for enjoying free time by going backwards in history when life was more tranquil.

Who excused him from the headlong rush of our evolutionary lives consisting of a neverending stream of stalkers, Spammers, Hate Mailers and Twitterer streamers that smother us with each other instead of saving us from ourselves?

I want a recount!  I want a do-over!  I want a Time Machine — not another Apple Time Machine because I already have one — to propel me back to the days before Baudot! 

I want my own pair of wire snippers!


  1. Apparently for we who are brilliant mac users, there is a piece of freeware that will give you those wire snippers called Freedom – which essentially disables your connection to the internet for as long as you want. Seems kind of silly but sometimes necessary. 🙂 (Particularly when you have to write and don’t need to research anything)

  2. Gordon!
    That’s my point! Who gets off on the gall of creating such a thing as a “Freedom” timer for time off when all it does is make you late and put you behind?
    We don’t allow free time or vacations in the USA any longer — unless, of course, you check your email every fifteen minutes and call the office to check your Voice Mail every hour.
    “Freedom is never having to say you have free time.”

  3. Thank G-d for my weekly 25 hour vacation – Shabbos!
    No e-mail. No internet or computer usage at all. Phone is off and unused. Voice mail inaccessible. Television is off and cold. Game systems all off. Music systems all off.
    Books – ready to be savored. The paper kind, that is. Naps to be had, and conversations with real people with no semicolons followed by right parenthesis involved.
    Some people think of Shabbos as accepting restrictions – I see it as a beautiful way to freedom from the mundane every day way of living.
    (and we cannot forget tea – tea on Shabbos is better than any other day of the week!)

  4. That’s a fortunate disconnect you have, Gordon! I wonder, though — if you decided to take off those 25 hours without using religion as the reason — if people would give you a harder time for the pleasure?

  5. Indeed! Imagine two people coming into an office for a job:
    Person one: “I can’t work between sundown on Friday and an hour after sundown on Saturday because I like to take the time to reflect on my life, relax, and enjoy every moment as it happens.”
    Person two: “I can’t work between sundown on Friday and an hour after sundown on Saturday because my religion prohibits it.”
    If that job involves weekend hours, you can tell immediately who will have a chance of getting hired, and who will not.

  6. Gordon —
    How would you handle living in a place with 24 hours of daylight? How would you determine when Shabbos begins and ends?
    Do you find any less-strict Jewish folk give you a hard time for being observant?

  7. I have actually asked that question. Usually the answer is, “Don’t live there.” It looks like the Star-K kashrus organization has taken on that question and as with any Jewish question, there is more than one answer:
    I have not encountered a single less-strict Jewish person who gave me a hard time for having my observance level. They were just more likely pleased that I never tell them to be more observant!

  8. Now that’s a mandate! “Don’t live there!” Wowser! Glad to know you aren’t given a hard time for being observant.

  9. Isn’t there some rule you can’t go back only forward? Like never go home again? A person can think they’re less connected but they’re not.

  10. There is a theory in drama, Anne, that the most effective plays — conflicts — happen in real time and and press into the future instead of doing a Flashback in time. Flashbacks are a crutch used by writers to explain something that either doesn’t need exposition or should be fixed in the “now” and not by going back to the “then.”
    I agree that cutting wires and going leaded instead of wireless is not going to last long. You might check your email less frequently, but that doesn’t mean others aren’t sending you the same amount of information to be processed and, if they don’t hear from you in a timely manner, they’ll send you even more mail to find out why you aren’t responding!

  11. David!
    He makes some interesting observations. i hope it works out for him – and IBM apparently!
    Also, interesting image, what is it?

  12. Dananjay —
    Yes, his wanting to disconnect is methodical and planned — but I can’t help thinking he’s asking for unreasonable special treatment and that his unwinding from the coil means other people have to step up and fill his strengths that he chooses not to do by becoming unreachable and unreliable.
    The image is swimming in the rain. It’s part of my “mega file” of images.

  13. David –
    pretty cool image!
    But if he was spending hours every morning catching up on email, then there was certainly cause for concern! And it isn’t like he stopped communicating, he just found something more efficient.
    and if he is a “social computing evangelist” then he did exactly what would be expected of him.

  14. Hi David,
    I envy the person who can afford the luxury to create a freedom time in today’s date!

  15. Katha —
    Right! The definition for those folks is: “Internet Lazies!”

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