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Angela Stefano said in April 18th, 2010 at 1:30 pm

I’m so happy you chronicled your experience like this! I’m also so glad someone else joined me in this (torturous?) little experiment.

I think I had an easier time of it than you because I was so busy for the 48 hours. While I was bored at work, I definitely went to type in “facebook.com” a few times, only to realize I’d have to settle for an online game or something else. But it wasn’t awful.

I also like your final conclusions. My morning was somewhat the same — I went onto Facebook very shortly after I woke up (the only thing I did first was check my e-mail)…but Twitter, I waited a bit on. I didn’t really miss it. I haven’t been checking it nearly as much today, either, and I hope I can keep it that way. Part of the reason these sites are so appealing is to quell boredom…but what’s wrong with being a little bored sometimes? It beats reading the same Facebook wall posts for the 10th time.

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Rima said in April 18th, 2010 at 1:45 pm

Thanks for the comments, Angela!

Isn’t it weird? I really thought I would miss it, but like you, I didn’t. It’s amazing how much of my daily routine could be put into the “only doing this out of habit” category

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sheenabarnett said in April 18th, 2010 at 2:27 pm

lol, this was such a fun read, Rima. :)

I actually do this, without really planning to, on the weekends. I work Sunday-Thursday, and I stay pretty linked into Twitter, Facebook, etc., during those days, since they help out with work so much. But on the weekends, it’s so nice to be free from the computer, that I very, very rarely check up on any social networking sites.

My phone doesn’t allow access to the Internet, but I can tweet from my phone and receive updates from a very few select friends on Twitter. I also get updates on my phone when anyone sends me a message/writes on my wall/asks to be my friend on Facebook. But I oftentimes let it go on the weekends. As I say to myself often, it’ll still be there on Sunday. :)

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Crystal said in April 18th, 2010 at 2:27 pm

I have to admit to being addicted to my facebook. I don’t Twitter, Digg, etc; nor do I have an Iphone (or an internet capable phone period), but my laptop is pretty much always handy. I like to tell myself it’s because I am home with the kids all day and don’t have any family or friends I can talk to during the day; but I am not always convinced that’s the case. I also admit that when I visit my parents, I don’t log on to the internet at all. So, once a month or so, I somehow manage to go a couple days without any social networking sites or internet surfing. I do fine…until I get back home. Once I am back at home and the kids are settled, I am immediately back to checking my sites like a starving woman who spies a buffet.

All in all, I enjoyed your post and found myself nodding from time to time with sentiments I could relate to and agree with. It truly is amazing the things we miss when we are busy online. Thank you for sharing your experience, Rima!

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sumittttttttttttt said in April 18th, 2010 at 4:13 pm

Personally i think you should be able to disconnect with ease, not a bad go you had. Once in a while my facebook will deactivate [like it is now] because i’m really not fond of it. Sometimes i shut my phone off, but people become angry if you don’t text them back. it’s just normal to get a text in return, oh well? i have never fully stopped using email because i always check it in case rutgers sends a message. But i’ve really never had trouble with just leaving everything—I think it’s because I have more than enough music and a plenty of books to get around to that i could occupy myself with, and i love riding my bike around | and just a lack of a real job that you OLDer people have. Sure I have CVS shifts, but other than that it’s just school work (which I should be doing…ugh).


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myridean said in April 18th, 2010 at 4:28 pm

Unfortunately, I missed the posts and tweets about the online experiment because I was in Toronto at the time. My phone is not web-enabled but in a sense as I was having the same experience as I didn’t have my computer with me at the hotel so in a sense, I wasn’t on a blackout but a vast reduction.

They had one in the lobby and I think I was able to check it three times for email/facebook the entire time until I was able to return. There was always someone else who needed to check flight status, especially with the plumes of ash from Iceland’s volcanic eruption scattering over the British Isles and the rest of Europe.

But I could tweet and update my Facebook status with my phone and was able to get a few off whatever I was doing on my trip. There was probably a lot more that I wanted to “share” too just as well, my mother was with me and always walked like she’s on a mission. What I found what I was using as a substitute was the newspaper during the nine hours of travel.

Your second point about following strangers or people we don’t really like anymore was interesting but I’ve always had this issue that we’re being/considered as stalkers. People who read celebrity magazines or read the news of a band or a former friend is not “stalking”. We need desperately a new term for this or stress that this is just “following”. I’m a cybrarian by trade and it’s my job to look up, search, find people. I’ve been trained and I’m very good at it probably because I’ve been doing it for so long. It doesn’t make me a “stalker”.

As that one fellow when he was surprised that I found that photo with his gf asked me if I was “stalking” him and said no, I just had his friend’s RSS feed alert me when she updated her photostream as he told me before that his friend had taken pictures of him in his zombie outfit and I was looking forward to seeing it.

But I’m glad you came through it okay and yes, now that I’m back home, I’ve checked my email/facebook/etc. … several times ;D

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David A said in April 18th, 2010 at 5:25 pm

Wow! What a great read! Don’t beat yourself up. I think you speak for a lot of post-Gen-Xers if not most.

I’d love to see this published as an article or, if you flesh it out more and really extend the experiment, a book. Your insights really make the topic interesting.

We should be Facebook friends – not frenemies, though! =)

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Rima said in April 19th, 2010 at 11:31 am

Thanks for the comments, everyone!

Sheena: And indeed, it was all still there on Sunday. I’ve been using my various sites of choice again, but not to my pre-Friday extent. It’s funny, though. I never got into hardcore gaming because it felt like such a huge timesink. I didn’t realize how Facebook, Twitter, etc. had the exact same effect.

Crystal: Thanks for your insights. I think we should all take a break every once in a while. This was my first conscious hiatus from social networking, but it won’t be my last. I’ll still be the News Geek, even when I’m not power-using.

Sumit: It sounds like you have an easy time disconnecting from people. That can definitely be a good thing, but remember that everyone needs a little social interaction every now and then. :) When you’re out of school, you won’t get that quite as easily.

Myri: Interesting point. Perhaps we do need to add a new word to the verbiage that isn’t quite as strong as “stalker” or “stalking.” Until we settle on an appropriate term, how do you feel about using “sneaky observation”? ;)

David: You’re too kind!!! That means a lot. Thanks for reading. Feel free to friend me. :)

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BlasterGirl said in April 19th, 2010 at 11:05 pm

Awesome story – thanks for sharing!

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lacey said in April 20th, 2010 at 11:06 pm

This was great, as usual. I feel the same way for the most part. I have more trouble living without Facebook and LJ in particular. I’m trying to get into twitter, but I don’t need something else to think I can’t live without.

About the stalking/sneaky observations, I too do the exact same thing. I follow and follow in great detail, but could frankly care less about speaking to them in person. It actually happened today when I met my ex best friend. I have my facebook privacy set where she can see nothing (petty, I know) but hers is open where I can see everything. So I keep tabs on her. Drives me crazy that I do this.

I waste more time on the internet than anything but accomplish pretty much nothing.

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