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Off the Grid: Have Your Hugged Your Internet Today?

By John McTigueSep 9, 2010

I'm not sure if anyone noticed that I've been "off the grid" for the past five days. No, it wasn't voluntary and no, I wasn't crashing around through the Amazon rain forest. Through a strange confluence of hardware failure and tropical weather, I found myself without broadband Internet for days. I live in the country, so driving to Starbucks really isn't an answer either. I was able to read and respond to e-mail via dial-up. Yes, that's right, dial-up. Amazing what we lived with just a few years ago. Granted, this is all trivial compared to what people go through in real natural and man-made disasters, but being off the grid for a few days was an eye opener for me. So, what have I learned by going backwards for a few frustrating days?

  1. are we hopelessly addicted to the internet and social mediaWe're technologically co-dependent. I realize that not all of us are on social media all day every day, and some of us really enjoy being offline - but then there's the vast majority that freak out when the power goes off or the connections are gone. This hit me right away, how addicted I've become to that broadband pipeline.
  2. When you're offline, there's time for stuff. I found myself with none of the usual tasks - blogging, inbound marketing, crm, social networking - so I had many new, undiscovered hours to work with. So I started writing. Not blogging, writing. Something I've been meaning to do for years but never found the time. Yes, I still had e-mail for emergencies, but since it required dial-up, I pretty much ignored it.
  3. Where are we going with our lives? Yes, having time gives you time to consider some big questions. All the time we spend online - is it really enriching our lives, or wasting it? Tough call. I know I'm totally addicted, because now that I'm back online, here I go with my usual habits again. Am I really contributing to my family, friends and the world as a whole by tweeting and Facebooking constantly? Not so much. Maybe I need to shut down the network more often.

I would love to hear from you on this topic. What would you do if your connections got cut off? What's your back-up plan, or are you better off just doing something else entirely? How does this absorption by the Internet affect our lives in both positive and negative ways?

Photo credit: jhoc

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The Author

John McTigue

With over 30 years of business and marketing experience, John loves to blog about ideas and trends that challenge inbound marketers and sales and marketing executives. John has a unique way of blending truth with sarcasm and passion with wit. You can connect with John via LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus.
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