Online Detox

Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve recently done what I believed was impossible. I (almost) went without an internet connection for four whole days.

My name is Jen and I'm an internet addict.

I’m an internet junkie. Checking my Twitter, various celeb gossip sites, news, political sites, blogs and Facebook, probably a little bit too much. During university I’d often procrastinate away my impending papers by searching the internet for useless facts, or used my connection to watch various TV shows when I didn’t have cable. Having a constant internet connection only makes this worse, I honestly don’t know what I would have done if I had my iPhone while in school because I may have never actually listened to lectures.

When my recent trip to Las Vegas was booked one of the first things I did was checked out whether our hotel (Ballys) had wi-fi. It didn’t, in fact none of the hotels on the strip offer wi-fi for free (even for their guests). I was going to have to go without for the duration of our trip.

I don’t know why I felt like I couldn’t go without, it’s not like I read every tweet that the people I follow tweet. Nor are they particularly exciting that I need to know exactly what’s up. If any major news event went down I’m sure I’d hear about it somewhere, there are TVs everywhere. If a celeb died, I’d have to find out later… hopefully my delay in getting the news wouldn’t cause me to miss my chance to attend the funeral.

Nothing in my online life is absolutely necessary for my daily existence, so why was I so worried?

I sent my last tweet before we hit the border early Monday morning and turned off my phone. I checked every once and awhile in Vegas for some kind of internet connection, but I got nothing. It was odd that there was no way to even get a free wi-fi connection anywhere in Las Vegas, until we were at a Starbucks at the outlet mall on Tuesday. We were trying to get tickets to O at the Bellagio and going to the ticket office was no help since their systems were down that morning, the show on Wednesday was the only one we’d be available to see and our attempts to phone ticketmaster were thwarted by a faulty payphone. As I stood in Starbucks doing my cultural studies (I wanted to see if their menus were different, they were not) I remembered that they offer free wi-fi in Canada, so they must in the USA. They did. We got our tickets and I had a quick look at my inbox (no good Groupons), Facebook (6 people liked my latest status), People.com (no dead celebs or babies born) and Twitter (no big news stories). It took all of 10 minutes and I disconnected until we got to the airport on Thursday evening.

Once I realized I could surf the net while waiting for our flight I felt a bit of excitement, free wi-fi and two hours to spare… it should be heaven.

But it wasn’t. Instead I spent about 15 minutes looking at random tweets and replying to some Facebook messages then went back to reading my book. Yes, my book was more interesting than anything that the internet could provide me.

Am I cured of my need for the internet? Certainly not. I love the internet and everything that it gives me, but I do take a little comfort from the fact that I could go without. I’ve done it in the past (while in Italy, it was spotty and not a daily occurrence), I just prefer to have information at my fingertips.

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