Ever given up on logging on?
May 9, 2006 2:05 AM   Subscribe

Have you ever managed to quit using the internet?

I've entered my second decade of near daily internet usage. I often wonder what life would be like without it. Under what circumstances have you escaped the internet's irresistible pull? If you have gone cold turkey, which site or app (present company excepted) broke your neoluddite will?
posted by roofus to Computers & Internet (24 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Sure, I quit for a month once. I drove across the country and had no access to a computer. Didn't really miss it either. So I guess the killer app was Car 1.0.
posted by crazycanuck at 2:31 AM on May 9, 2006

Um, no - especially at work - I deleted the shortcut to Internet Explorer once in an effort to cut down, thinking that the "extra effort" required to fire it up might slow me down - but it didn't work for long. I find that boredom and availability are the triggers for me - if I'm occupied or I have no access it doesn't bug me.

My hobbies (cars and guitars) break my resolve...
posted by SpacemanRed at 2:33 AM on May 9, 2006

I went without the internet for almost a year in 1997, when I was 12 (I had started using the Internet extensively about one or two years before that). The excuse was that I had exams to concentrate on. The only time I got online during that year was when Princess Diana passed away and I wanted to write a condolence message.

As soon as I got my Internet access back, I never went offline. Too many good things have happened thanks to the Internet and I'm not sure what I can do without it!

(of course there's been times where I've been offline due to various circumstances - traveling, especially - but never longer than a week or so.)
posted by divabat at 2:42 AM on May 9, 2006

As someone who's been online since 1988, I took more than a year off in the mid 90s to... well, to be a teenager pretty much. I was busy with parties, girls and a lot of other stuff. I noticed I didn't touch the computer for a couple of months, after that I made it as a point to not touch it.

What got me back online was wanting to learn more about my erstwhile interest. Then I made a page about it and here I am, some 10 years later with an interactive design career under my belt.

Right now, I couldn't live my life (as it is now) without the internet. Even if I moved all my interpersonal contacts to letters and the phone and got all my information from books and periodicals, my current job is online for a company that only accepts work turned in via an extranet.
posted by jedrek at 2:45 AM on May 9, 2006

No. I go without it for about a week at a time while on holidays (camping and the like) but I hate not being able to find answers to any and every question. I also developed my social life on it (as far back as '88, when i accessed male dominated bulletin boards - those were the days - for the cost of a long distance call - what was I thinking?) and now prefer invisible friends to 3D ones.
posted by b33j at 2:46 AM on May 9, 2006

If any of managed to quit the Internet, would we be here to tell you how we did it? ;-)

Personally, I'm addicted to the Intarweb. Not so much the great ol' WWW as it is instant messaging - I can't bear to be out of almost constant human contact for extended periods of time.

I've been off the Internet for a few months at a time, but those times I've been away from all forms of technology whatsoever -- and to be honest, it's not that bad! I'd go so far as to say it was a welcome change of pace, for a while!
posted by PuGZ at 2:49 AM on May 9, 2006

I'm relatively new to the internet, about 6 years, and I've had short periods when I've been without it (ISP issues, visiting non-online people). I sort of missed it, but did instead all kinds of other things that I've enjoyed (mostly outdoor things) and resolved each time not to use the net so much. But I always fall back into using it to an extent that I recognise is much more than any of my f2f friends, many of whom don't even have computers at home.

I'm always conscious of how very much I enjoy doing other things when I'm actually doing them, and for me it's all a question of making the effort to detach myself from the computer and get outside. Once I'm out and doing something else that engages me, I forget about the net.
posted by essexjan at 2:51 AM on May 9, 2006

I think you're looking at the Internet the wrong way - it's a tool. OK, it's a very pervasive one, but in order to function well in today's society, you need access to the Internet. True, so people kick the habit of driving, or watching TV, or somesuch (and there may be very good reasons for doing so) but they're generally perceived as kooks who are cutting off their noses to make a point - and making their lives more difficult in the process.

So, I wouldn't think about 'kicking the Internet habit' - I would try and think in terms of making the tool as productive as it can be.

(Or, in other words - no, I've never given up logging on...)
posted by benzo8 at 3:30 AM on May 9, 2006

Going to Metafilter looking for people who gave up the internet is like going to a bar in search of alcoholics who quit drinking. You might find some, but their advice will be questionable.

The best way to stop using the internet is to get rid of your computer. (The only times I've quit the net for long periods are when I had limited access anyway. But I admit that I've never wanted to quit, so I never really tried.) You could also lock down your computer to block net access, in the manner that some businesses and parents do.
posted by blue mustard at 4:00 AM on May 9, 2006

True, so people kick the habit of driving, or watching TV, or somesuch (and there may be very good reasons for doing so) but they're generally perceived as kooks who are cutting off their noses to make a point - and making their lives more difficult in the process.

I have never been able to quit using it. I have wasted a lot of time, but also learned a lot and it has gotten me jobs, in part.

If I take my network cable and stick it in a filing cabinet it slows me down. If I am traveling and/or doing something fun I can live without it for a while, but there has to be a replacement activity and lots of social contact.
posted by mecran01 at 6:00 AM on May 9, 2006

I quit last week, for a week, while I was up north planting trees.

However work demanded that I drove 40 miles to a Starbucks to pick up email one day. However it was irritating rather than enjoyable. Other than that I didn't miss it a bit. Didn't even think about it, in fact.

Which is surprising because I'm a complete addict.
posted by unSane at 6:06 AM on May 9, 2006

When I'm visiting people I'll skip the internet, even if they've got it (which most people I know do). So I'll routinely take a week or two week breather. I've also avoided the internet and computers for longer periods when I'm on vacation. A lot of the work I do is assisted by the internet so cold turkey while I'm working isn't really possible though I've quit my surfing habits almost entirely for months at a time because I've had too many other things going on.
posted by substrate at 6:30 AM on May 9, 2006

I did after Hurricane Katrina when I had no electricity but I swear the first thing I did when the electricity came on was get back on the internet. I can stop for a couple of days but forever! Nope, can't do it.
posted by govtdrone at 6:58 AM on May 9, 2006

Quit? I can quit anytime I want and I have many times.
posted by caddis at 7:19 AM on May 9, 2006

I make a point of taking an offline trip every year, being totally away from email and the web for 4-5 days. I usually learn what I missed and what I didn't miss. The stuff I didn't miss I just stop doing, and no longer waste time on it (like how I used to read hundreds of blogs and read several bulletin boards -- I've cut back severely on both).

Perhaps a short internet vacation is in order to figure out what major time wasting aspect of it you can live without.
posted by mathowie at 7:26 AM on May 9, 2006

I've been online since what feels like forever - my first access to the internet was in 1987 or 88 I think. my university was one of the first in canada to be wired (and within a few weeks it was hello usenet!), and I also dialed into bbs'es from home (though it was not as much fun as usenet).

I've been offline for a month here, a week there - and I am in awe of anyone who has been offline for a year. A whole year!!

I manage my internet time by keeping two desks at the office, one for web work and one for document work, otherwise I could spend all day surfing. In addition, I take one day off pretty much every week (No Internet Saturdays) by going outside, spending a day with a friend, etc... staying away from the net.
posted by seawallrunner at 7:38 AM on May 9, 2006

I'm offline for two weeks per year each year, which only works by being somewhere where there is no internet access. As soon as I'm back in the civilized world, I'm back at 10 hours per day. Deciding to cut back internet usage never worked - and I did stop smoking after ten years, so it's not like I've got a dramatic lack of willpower.
posted by dhoe at 7:41 AM on May 9, 2006

Yes, I'm not using it right now. No, honestly. Ok, nevermind, you saw through my ruse. This think is more adictive than crack.
posted by blue_beetle at 7:43 AM on May 9, 2006

Hi, my name is SpecialK, and I have been a daily user since 1992.

It started to get bad this year. I moved halfway across the country to see if a relationship would work with a woman I met via the internet ten years ago. The relationship worked out OK at first, but my internet usage became an increasing issue after a short time. There are times when I'm just antisocial, and I'd sit and play MMORPGs instead of paying attention to this woman that mattered so much to me.

When I realized that, I curtailed my intenet use immediately. I went cold turkey on the MMORPGs and never looked back. I cut back to sitting around half the time with the network cable unplugged and the wireless off, a situation that would allow me to actually get some work done. It would be hard for me to go completely cold turkey, because every bit of 'work' I do involves the internet - I'm a web application developer.

Although the relationship ended up not working out, she and I are still great friends. I especially like it these days when I can stay out at her place, which is so rural that she doesn't have a phone line even. I still have to keep a wireless internet PDA with me in that case because of work, but I don't use it that much. ;)
posted by SpecialK at 8:21 AM on May 9, 2006

Quitting the internet would be quitting my primary communications tool. I'd talk to my mother once a week rather than daily, and I'd talk to my fiance overseas less often than that whereas we're in contact for hours a day now (when we're together, we use the internet together--sit together with our laptops and show each other pictures and videos we find). Could I quit the internet? Maybe, but I can't quit the people I love.
posted by Cricket at 9:06 AM on May 9, 2006

I'm not exactly sure why people feel they have to "quit the internet". It's the modern medium of communication, information-gathering, pretty much anything. Quitting the internet is basically like saying "I want to live on a deserted island and give up civilization."

Now, I can understand wanting to quit using the internet in a perseverating manner, where you're in some kind of weird habitual browsing loop and not benefiting from it, but quitting versus mitigating your usage are two different things. Moderation in all things.
posted by Big Fat Tycoon at 10:12 AM on May 9, 2006

How to quit? Find things that "replace" what you get out of the internet.

Use the phone and postal mail to communicate, pay bills, and get information from companies without having to visit them.

Use encyclopedias and your local library for information (remember the research librarian? omg, they probably use the internet).

Books, TV, and other hobbies can replace on-line computer games & blog reading (or whatever). Find a new hobby.

Since the 'net is such a time-saver, one would have to be really convicted to go "cold turkey", but I'm sure people are interested in it.

Perhaps there's a web site on the subject. ;)
posted by catkins at 12:13 PM on May 9, 2006

I've never "quit" the internet so to speak, but I've noticed that boredom/lethargy increase my online time. I'll find myself reading stuff that I am honestly NOT interested in and asking myself "WHY?!"

Thankfully, I can not access the internet at work and I have plenty of things to do without it. I'm only online ~2hrs a day at this point, which is damn near miraculous considering how much time I used to spend online. (~10 hours when I was living on a godforsaken rock with nothing to do.)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 12:58 PM on May 9, 2006

I think the point isn't to quit the internet entirely but to restrict its use to specific goals. I wish I treated the Internet as a tool, but instead, I treat it as a text-based, information-heavy television. I'd like to use it just for email and answers to specific questions--and I acknowledge that I learn a lot from my idle browsing--but my attempts to be more in control haven't been very successful. The best thing I've done is to just hide my wireless card at home. However, I still waste a lot of time at work--does anyone have any tips on that? I'm thinking of using a timer or some sort. I'm also reading THE NOW HABIT, on procrastination, which I learned about on the internet (i.e., here).
posted by kensanway at 1:52 PM on May 9, 2006

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