Up to a month ago, I was such an old-fashioned soul who still had a prepaid phone without mobile internet. It started with me never getting to the point I thought I needed internet everywhere but has over the years almost gotten to be a matter of principle. Around me, I see people lost in their phones, merely their physical bodies present in the train station, the restaurant lobby, the park, and the streets. When I told people they could only reach me via text or by calling, they looked at me appalled; how can you live like that? As if I was missing my eyes or lost an important finger from my hand. I personally enjoyed the adventure of living without, having to be creative and being pushed to talk to people to get to where and what I want. I think for many of us, even me included, our phones have grown to be our sixth sense with which it is hard to live without, but just as much as it is possible to live blind or deaf, it is possible to live without the internet.
However, you might say, apparently a month ago, you also joined the club of ‘mobile internet’. What happened? Well, yes, I caved. But to my regret, I noticed the difference almost immediately. I signed up for a month of mobile internet during the summer because I was traveling alone and thought it would be helpful when I was on my own in another country without being able to speak the language. After a month, when I was back on prepaid again, I felt as if I lost a limb, not being able to access the internet anytime, anywhere. And so shamefully I caved, telling myself it would be an experiment and I would be able to not get addicted. Boy, I was wrong.
It is, however, really an interesting experiment. For my thesis, I am researching being-in-the-world in the digital age, in which I ask the question how digital technologies impact the way we are present in the world and what it means to live a good life through the design of critical interventions. In this blog, I would like to keep you updated on my personal relationship with my smartphone and the progress made in my assignment. I hope to find myself, through conscious use and interventions during almost a year, less addicted to the miraculous world of the internet.