TODAY   |  May 07, 2013

Man gives up Internet for a year, lives to tell tale

From our email to Facebook and shopping, there’s probably not a day that goes by that we don’t use the Internet. Paul Miller from The Verge decided to give it up for an entire year, and shares what he learned from his Web-free life.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> now to a story that i don't know many of us could imagine undertaking. how long could you go without the internet ? a few hours, a day, maybe a week while you're out on vacation at the very most? well, paul miller from lived without it for a full year, and he survived to tell the tale. paul, good morning.

>> good morning.

>> first of all, why this exercise? it wasn't we should say a stunt for the magazine. this is something you felt like you wanted to do for yourself.

>> i wanted to educate myself, read a ton of books. i felt if i quit the internet i'd have no time -- i'd have nothing to do other than read books, and also i was really stressed about by the internet . it was really overwhelming

>> you felt you were overwhelmed by all the technology in your life.

>> yeah.

>> you wanted to put it to the side.

>> i just couldn't keep up, you know. there was always more, always more. i never won, you know. you can't beat twitter. five seconds later there's a lot more on twitter.

>> what were the ground rules exactly? with retalking total deprivation, no access to the internet at all?

>> absolutely. and i didn't have other people use the internet for me. the one exception. i write for a tech website called the verge. i would give them a thumb drive with the articles that i wrote and they would put them up for me. otherwise i didn't look at people's screens. wouldn't let them show me instagram, and i also didn't text message which wasn't the internet but i was trying to avoid the communication

>> you went essentially back to 20 years ago. no online banking no, twitter, no facebook, nothing like that, and i understand when you started the exercise you felt like it was working, that your mind was working better and that your life was enriched.

>> i was so zen, so bliss. it was really great. i was really free from all that stress and all that distraction.

>> but that didn't last?

>> no. you know, i found loneliness and boredom like really cool and novel at first, and then it really made me creative, and i did a lot of great things for me, but also eventually i just sort of fell in on myself, and i just started realizing that my problems with productivity and dissatisfaction in life weren't really the internet 's fault. they manifest differently with and without the internet and leaving the internet didn't fix everything.

>> which element of the internet did you miss the most, in your day-to-day life, what did you miss?

>> well, i guess i took it for granted that the internet is where everybody is now.

>> right.

>> not everybody else quit the internet so it was really hard to stay in people, and, you know, i really missed skyping with my family. like i've got brand new nieces and nephews i haven't skyped with, and that was real tough.

>> what was it like a couple weeks ago when you finally ended your full year without the web to sort of come back into society?

>> i thought i would take right to it and look at all the fun videos on youtube and have a really good time. i was really overwhelmed. i'm not that good at the internet yet. i really panicked, and i think maybe we take for granted how difficult and how much of our mind is consumed trying to use the internet . it's not easy.

>> it's a pretty bold exercise i don't think most of us could have undertaken. paul miller , thanks for bringing us the story.