Confession of an Internet, techno-junkie

As inspired by today’s SoloPR chat and my recent so-called Unplugged vacation, a few random thoughts on today’s hyper-connected world and what it all means.

While my priorities are in check and I’m not so addicted to social media that I’d ever ‘like’ my own status update, I have to face the writing on the wall: am a ‘plugged in’ person.

Going Offline is easier… when you have no choice.

I trapped myself on a cruise ship last week, with Internet access rates that would do loan sharks proud. (Starts at $0.70/minute for satellite-based speeds, shudder.) It’s nice to check in on things, but not at those prices.

I did however pop into a computer place while shopping in port mid-trip; 10 minute email check = peace of mind, knowing the world didn’t implode in my absence.

Cutting the cord? Didn’t happen.

I used my devices when I could. In St. Thomas, my AT&T cellphone was good to go, so I checked messages, made a few calls. My iPad was my music gaming fun device, used daily.

I did try to read a few ebook novels, but it was too relaxing – if you can fathom such a thing – and kept making me want to nap. Since I can nap at home for free, I put down the iPad and went on the water slides, played trivia, learned the Thriller dance. (Thankfully there exists no photos or video.)

We’re a plugged in, connected world. Deal.

Face it, even if we try to completely unplug, go social media cold turkey, it’s everywhere: TV, news, at the gym, at work, our phones and friends. A problem faced by social media addicts trying to cut back, the disconnect.

Watching the news in my cabin, I did have that ‘cut off’ feeling, the not knowing what was going on back in the world but it wasn’t too bad. I missed work, my friends, my online life but I’m happy to wait a day or so before uploading pictures to Facebook and marking the Reader as “read” has been all too easy to do.

One of the first things I did upon checking into the hotel post-cruise: fire up the iPad and WiFi. I was sneaking in a couple days at Disney World and it was the easiest way to double check reservation times, confirm directions. Anything I wanted to do, getting connected was the best way to do it.

Balancing act

As with work, play, wine, surfing, Jenga – it’s balance: using your devices and online time to help manage your work and play, not letting them manage you. I’m a connected person, but know how to step away when I need to. Now if I can just find someone in Atlanta who sells the well-balanced Cederberg Bukettraube we had a Disney’s Jiko the other night, I’d be all set.

YOU: have you ever gone offline for an extended trip? Totally unplugged, leaving the laptop and iToys behind? How’d it go?

Photo credit: ME! Going offline and out of town, you get to take pretty pictures like that one in St. Thomas.

Comments (16) | Trackback

16 Responses to “Confession of an Internet, techno-junkie”

  1. Your mom doesn’t have Internet access?! How do you communicate with her! I email with my mom all day, every day. I don’t know how we lived without it. LOL!
    Gini Dietrich recently posted..Three Examples of Social Media Gone Bad

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    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    They’re retired, kinda missed the whole online revolution so no access at either parents house. It’s torture, I have to go out and find wifi when I visit. We call, and send the old fashioned greeting cards on occasion. Which reminds me, I should call my mother. ;-)

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  2. Bill Dorman says:

    My post Monday is about my little excursion being offline. I had some access, but very little. Guess what, not only did social survive but so did social.

    I guess your Tigers beat my Tigers, huh?
    Bill Dorman recently posted..Did video kill the radio star?

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    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    Amazing isn’t it Bill? The tweets, emails, updates all go right past you and are there waiting when you get back.. probably take a while before anyone really notices. And yeah, my Tigers kicked ass! Best of the West in two weeks, gonna be one serious game vs. Bama. :-)

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  3. What I would pay to see you do the Thriller dance! Seriously. Big bucks.

    I tried to do this one weekend. I thought I did pretty well, too. I didn’t use email or check anything for work. But then I realized checking into Whole Foods on Foursquare and uploading new recipes to my Tumblr blog and playing on Facebook didn’t really mean unplugged. So, I’m here to tell you, it’s impossible to cut it all off.
    Gini Dietrich recently posted..Gin and Topics: Kevin Bacon and Men In Heels

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    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    It’s a lot of fun, way too many steps and confusing, but cool to try. Had I known there was money to be made, I might have allowed it to be filmed for posterity. ;-)

    Trapping myself on a ship or somewhere w/ no access (like my mother’s) is about the only way to try and go off the grid Gini. Being a dumbphone owner helps since it’s just calls and texts, but like I said.. I want to go to the movies, book a dinner, I reach for the iPad. I am at that place that I can let it go.. dinner and movie, cards/wine w/ friends.. I can let it go for at least a few hours.

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  4. Welcome back! The most recent times this has happened to me were forced: loss of power during storms. I didn’t like it, but at the same time I felt relieved: when the power came back on, I had a legitimate excuse for my abrupt absence, popcorn gluttony (we have a gas stove) and general lack of consideration for anything work-related for the next day or two. As the days went by, though, I thought I’d get hives from the anxiety.

    I’ve not left behind the internet of my own volition for longer than 24 hours in a good long while.
    Shakirah Dawud recently posted..Genuinely Curious: What Do You Do At Business Milestones?

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    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    A power outage would be different, unplanned and worse unprepared. Think if that row of ducks is ok, you might see it’s worth it Shakirah. Maybe you’ll see how you need it and how you really don’t. Funny I go offline for wine and card nights w/ friends, but then.. we dial up a cool radio station online, show each other newly discovered YouTubes. But I have no problem letting tweets go past, email piling up a little since it’ll be there when I’m done. :-)

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  5. Forget whether you were plugged in or not–I’m just jealous of your cruise ship vacation!
    Neicole Crepeau recently posted..Business goals should drive social media goals

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    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    Well Neicole, I could make you UNjealous with true stories of terrible weather, then catching some bug, other little dramas but.. I still had fun in spite of it all. :-)

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  6. Hi Davina,
    I really enjoyed reading this!
    I’ve unplugged completely – I did it this past summer when we went to Cape Breton for 10 days. I didn’t even have an iPod with me. I would have been tempted, if I had it back then, to bring my Kindle, but there was no wifi there so it would have just been a glorified book!
    The experience of being unplugged (nothing imploded while I was gone) was so refreshing and rejuvenating for me that I made a commitment to myself to unplug on Sundays. This has been very beneficial as well! I find that after being unplugged I have more energy when I return to the Blogosphere! It’s a work hard/play hard philosophy. If I know I’m going to get a great break, I work harder. If I know I’m going to work hard when I return allows me to relax well when I’m unplugged!
    Lori Gosselin recently posted..Are You Insecure?

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    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    If I can Lori, Saturdays are my most offline or at least, work-lite days. And I’ve moved some things to other times, that shifting and multitasking, like scrolling the Reader or another email check later in the evening while surfing TV. Now leaving even the iPod at home for a long trip, don’t think I could since I’d miss my music too much.

    One thing being unplugged does for writing, kinda frees the mind to write about anything. It’s a challenge too, since we often try to blog about topical, current issue but at the same time, it is good to just type and see what happens.

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  7. Karen Swim says:

    Davina, welcome back, you were missed! You are so right we are a wired world and a complete disconnect while not impossible is not easy. I have avoided some tools to maintain my own balance. I don’t have a smartphone because I don’t want to check email 24/7. I unplug from social media and email on the weekends save the occasional check-in. However, not having the choice is where it gets tricky. It’s easy to disconnect when you know that you can connect at will but it would be challenging if that choice was removed.
    Karen Swim recently posted..The Pure and Simple Guide to Social Media and Marketing

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    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    Still don’t have a smartphone either Karen, for that (and because I’m not so ‘on the go’ that I need THAT much connectivity). Lugging the iPad around is a wee bit more challenging, so that helps fight the temptation. I sometimes go on social timeouts, even Twitter. When I have work to do, I’ll shut down those distractions and mark things off the list first. Work gets done, then I’ll turn email, TweetDeck back on, take a look at LI or FB.

    Still hard to escape the conveniences of our digital world, how the connections do make things faster, easier.. and give us more time for other things. So balance, and an unplugged escape once in a while. :-)

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  8. Farida H says:

    Thanks for sharing your post, Davina. Kudos to you for turning this around so quickly from idea to execution! We’re living, breathing and consuming so much media all the time, it’s become almost impossible to disconnect. Balance is key, as you rightly point out in your post. But even that is becoming so difficult to achieve when you are armed with a smartphone and have constant access. I’ve never tried to completely unplug – when I’m out and my phone battery dies, I feel quite handicapped – so clearly that would definitely be a huge challenge for me!
    Farida H recently posted..Is Social Media For Everyone?

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    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    It’s one reason I’m a dumbphone holdout Farida, calls and text are bad enough and I don’t want the constant temptation of having the net at my fingertips. Plus, my iPad works great for my mobile needs.

    The balance I’ve found is acceptance, giving myself permission to ‘miss’ things. Maybe it’s a tweetchat while I’m at a movie or my reading time gets cut b/c I’m hanging with friends.. happens. I don’t want to buy into the pressure of being ‘on’ 24/7. It IS hard to shut down; I make fun plans online, much of my entertainment and relaxation are digital. But when you sorta go off the grid for a long time, you realize it’s possible and that all the stuff will be there when you get back. FWIW.

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