The 24hrs I lost my Internet lifeline…

If I said that now in 2013 we communicate with each other the same way as we’ve always done you’d yell:

RUBBISH!

It’s 2013 and we live in a world so online we don’t know how to get off again.

My Challenge: 24 hours without internet access. No Facebook, no Twitter, no Google and most importantly to me no Skype – my literal lifeline to my mum.

Challenge Status: Accepted. . .

Although I consider myself a bit of an internet buff/know-it-all, others would probably argue I’m not really. I can just about check (which I do constantly during the day) my: 

The first two which have a never ending feed, which I like to constantly refresh (Well something important might come up).

How did I think the Challenge would go?

It was time to see how 24 hours without Internet would affect me. I totally believed this would be easy peasy lemon squeezy after all, how hard can not having the Internet be?

When we were younger we never had it, I was always out on my bike pedalling at speeds I can’t reach now, to catch up with friends and see how their Tamagotchi, or in some cases Furbies, were doing.

Now though it’s different, in 2013 according to the Office for National Statistics over 36 million people access the Internet everyday.  

36,000,000 people.

It’s a crazy thought. I look out of my window now  and I don’t see kids playing on their bikes, instead when they are outside they’re comparing the latest iPad or iPhones but generally no bikes are involved.

Before this little experiment started I felt that with my experience of the Internet it wouldn’t be that hard. I really believed that I wasn’t a massive ‘internet-er’. I’ve got Facebook and Twitter sure but I guess I don’t really update as much as others do. I thought the 24 hours would whizz by!

1 hour, 2 hour, 3 hour, 4…

So it started off well enough. I reached for my phone in the morning when I woke up just to update everything and then almost instantaneously remembered and swerved my hand to reach for the light instead. Seriously, I reached for my phone in utter darkness  instead of my light.  I suddenly felt really self-consciously stupid.

Who checks social networking before they even turn on the light? Apparently I do.

Craig Smith from Digital Marketing Ramblings is a busy when it comes to exploring the stats of how many people use Social Networking.  See his amazing graphic at the bottom of this blog or click here. Craig’s alphabetical graphic shows the massive amounts of people using social networking. An impressive 1.11 billion people are using Facebook alone!

 (So hopefully there IS someone out there the same as me!)

After shaking off the feeling of a sudden impending doom I felt in my stomach I switched iTunes on. I’m a big music listener and generally try and download the Top 10 hits every week more or less, today was the day. Perfect. Can’t wait to get that new…Stop. What are you doing? Almost got me.

As of February 6 of this year Apple recorded that over 25 billion songs had been purchased and downloaded from iTunes. They even gave away €10,000 to the buyer of 25th billion song.  

I’m still bitter it wasn’t me.

See the press release here!

Within an hour of waking up, I had already tried and thankfully stopped myself wanting to get on the Internet twice.

Am I really that Internet dependent? 

Apparently the answer was turning out to be yes.

The difficult decision – cutting off all contact!

Ultimately the only way I figured to stop myself from glancing, peeking and sneaking at the Internet was to leave my phone in my flat, whilst I went to uni. Now that is a BIG DEAL for me! My phone is generally in my hand at all times, in case Barack Obama ever feels the need to call or something (heavy sarcasm and a lot of wishes).

Before I started my Internet 24-hour detox I read an interesting article from Time about Internet Addiction, which stated that heavy Internet users can: “undergo withdrawal symptoms similar to those experience by drug users.”

I’m sure I suffered from it!

I was unbelievably fidgety, at least I was for a few hours. But all of a sudden I was more concentrated on what my shorthand teacher was actually saying, perhaps because I was so desperate for something to do.

It was probably just shy of a small miracle when suddenly writing word endings in strange little Aztec-like symbols made just a bit more sense and by the end of class I think I got it.

After the initial withdrawal symptoms I pretty much just got on with, however I was so embarrassed when I tried talking to my friend who was messaging on Facebook at the same time.

Could this really be what I’m like – it’s just  so rude. I was having to fight a smart phone for attention, and repeating myself was a nightmare. Eventually I stopped talking and so without any  fuss did she.

The Hardest Part…

Their is no doubt in my mind, the hardest part of this experiment was the no Skype rule.

With my mum, step-dad and step-brother being out in Dubai and the international phone-calls being so over-priced not talking to them was really tough! My mum especially. We weren’t that close when I was younger, but now she is the one person I want to speak to for even the littlest thing.

We usually talk every night at some point, either through email or generally through Skype but tonight there was absolute silence! It was terrifying how alone that made me feel even though I flat-share with four other girls, and we had a movie night. My flat-mates don’t always get it, sure they Skype their parents too, but when Skype doesn’t work they can just pick up the phone. I have to think carefully before doing that.
According to TechRadar’s article Microsoft’s statistics state that Skype has:  “299 million connected users.”  That is a massive amount of people. Perhaps it shouldn’t of surprised me there were that many around the world using Skype seeing as the UK makes up 36 million of that number and we are a pretty small island.
Crazy!
After my Internet 24 hour detox, and my realistation of how much Skype means to me I decided that my first task, when I eventually began my Internet use again, (which was far to long for my liking) was to find five facts about about Skype just because I could use the internet again! A completely pointless task, but one that just shows how easy and convenient the Internet really is.
So without future ado, my five pointless facts about Skype:
1. According tStatistics Brain  35% of Skype are small businesses who use it as their primary communication ‘portal’. In a time when everything is so expensive the idea of fully taking advantage of a free software is pretty genius. It’s probably obvious but in times of need people learn to adapt. Plus Skype can bring about the personal touches a phone call can’t necessarily bring – after all you do get to see the person you’re talking to. It’s practically like a face-to-face conversation but  in some cases a few thousand miles away.
2. Not only does it benefit small businesses but students can ‘rock’ it too, Skype says so itself: 
With the ability to share screens: “Two (or three or five) heads are better than one I love this. Although perhaps it means in more a of studious way, I can’t wait to try it out during student breaks to keep up with my friends all at the same time. Conference calling doesn’t only benefit students, likewise businesses and professionals can make the most of it too. The ability to ‘see’ and communicate with up to five people can give you a more definite idea of what a person really thinks, after all body language can be key to understanding.
3. Obviously it works for people like me who want to stay in touch with those pesky relatives that decide to move abroad. I couldn’t really do without Skype. Being so far away from people who mean a lot to you can be so hard sometimes, and although obviously Skype can’t replace actually being in the same room as a person it does make life so much easier. People move away from relative all the time, and by having a way of communicating without having a dependence on how much you can increase your phone bill by this month is actually pretty inspirational. Finally chatting to people you love has never been easier, and when they get really annoying on particular days the good old: “the internet’s not working” excuse comes in very handy.
4. Typically it’s FREEEE, yes do it in a sing-song voice and extend the e sound. This is an absolute bonus. Could you ask for any thing more really? This point is self-explanatory. 
5. There is a ‘super-user’ no joke, called Jean Mercier. Check out his witty and pretty special blog Skype Numerology here. This blog is hilarious. I don’t know why or how I found it but I’m so glad I did. Just the idea of a super Skype fan is incredible. It’s the simple things that make my day – really! This really goes to show that the Internet is capable of creating practically anything – even a Skype super-user/blogger. Crazy and inspired at the same time.

Closing Comments

Realising the difficulty I had without the Internet really makes me value it even more. However I’ve decided since taking this ‘test’ that it simply is not right to be stuck to my phone as if it’s super-glued to my hand. It is just far too rude. I don’t want to be an anti-social person whilst being social online. Honestly I would rather just talk to someone face-to-face instead of in the virtual world of Facebook and Twitter.
I mean, really, I have far more to say that 140 characters would actually allow.
                                                           
Check out this graphic by Craig Smith as mentioned in the above:
social media user infographic
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