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This Guy Disconnected From The Internet For An Entire Year
May 8, 2013
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Just over a year ago, a technology journalist from New York named Paul Miller decided to try an experiment - he disconnected from the internet.

Not for a day or a week, but for an entire year. 365 days offline - no surfing, no skype, no email - nothing.

When he unplugged, he said he wanted to find the "real" Paul, get in touch with the "real" world, and "discover what the internet had done to me over the years." Along the way, he documented his day to day life without the web.

You can check out the trailer at the top, and click on the link to watch the full feature entitled 'Finding Paul Miller'.

One week ago today, Paul went back online but before he did he wrote a piece for The Verge recounting his journey.

Photo: Finding Paul Miller via The Verge

Paul opens his story like this...

"One year ago I left the internet. I thought it was making me unproductive. I thought it lacked meaning. I thought it was "corrupting my soul."

It's a been a year now since I "surfed the web" or "checked my email" or "liked" anything with a figurative rather than literal thumbs up. I've managed to stay disconnected, just like I planned. I'm internet free.

And now I'm supposed to tell you how it solved all my problems. I'm supposed to be enlightened. I'm supposed to be more "real," now. More perfect."

He goes on to write...

"...everything started out great, let me tell you. I did stop and smell the flowers. My life was full of serendipitous events: real life meetings, frisbee, bike rides, and Greek literature."

"I lost 15 pounds without really trying. I bought some new clothes. People kept telling me how good I looked, how happy I seemed... I was a little bored, a little lonely, but I found it a wonderful change of pace."

Paul talks about how his "head uncluttered", his "attention span expanded" and he "was more aware of others in the moment."

Photo: Finding Paul Miller via The Verge

He also writes about the joy of getting letters in the mail from readers - "something tangible, and something hard to simulate with an e-card." But over time, he says he almost grew to resent the letters, as a dozen a week "could prove to be as overwhelming as a hundred emails a day."

And by the end of 2012, he says he didn't go out much, didn't turn boredom into creativity and his "offline existence became mundane." Ultimately, he says he "fell out of sync with the flow of life."

Paul ends his piece by writing...

"I wanted to figure out what the internet was "doing to me," so I could fight back. But the internet isn't an individual pursuit, it's something we do with each other. The internet is where people are."

"When I return to the internet, I might not use it well. I might waste time, or get distracted, or click on all the wrong links. I won't have as much time to read or introspect or write the great American sci-fi novel.

But at least I'll be connected."

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