Most of us love the technology in our lives. It keeps us connected with the people we care about, and it allows us to add a layer of depth to our daily experiences. There are times though when people decide to set it aside for a while. Imagine what it would be like to live without any Internet connection or modern gadgets for a whole year. Would you be able to use only outdated technology for an extended period of time?
When I flew from Atlanta to Shanghai, I didn’t have Internet access for the entire 20-hour flight. It was odd yet refreshing at the same time. A few years ago, I wrote about a techie family that unplugged for 6 months. When it was over, the mother wrote a book about the experience, and how it changed the dynamic of their relationships.
If you want to take a break from today’s technology, I think the success or failure of what you’ll experience depends on your expectations. If you are doing it to see if unplugging makes you happier, you may be sadly mistaken. We all learned that from The Verge’s Paul Miller in his post called I’m Still Here: Back Online After A Year Without Internet. According to Paul, using outdated technology and not connecting to the Internet will allow you to get lots of things done, but it won’t affect your happiness.
If I were to get offline for an extended period of time, it would simply be to strengthen my offline relationships. When you think about it, it is silly to remain emotionally distant from our loved ones during some conversations just so we can answer the tweets or other online messages from complete strangers.
Blair McMillan (who was born in 1986) and his family have decided not to use any technology that was created after 1986 for a whole year. That means they will only use outdated technology until April of 2014. The reason they made this decision is because Blair and his girlfriend Morgan became shocked at how dependent on technology their two young children had become. So, they decided to turn back the hands of time to 1986.
Do you know what it would be like to only use outdated technology? Amongst many other things, there would be no GPS, no social media and no digital pictures (they are paying to have their film developed the old fashioned way). What will they say about their experience after the year is up? If they are like other people who have done this, they will have noticed a few things change, but it won’t be the life-altering experience they were hoping for. I suppose only time will tell. You can read more about their story here on the Toronto Sun.
I’ve often thought about this as it relates to people in prison. If someone is in prison for a decade, it must be a shock to come out and see all the changes in the world from a technology perspective. There’s one good thing about this 1986 lifestyle though – you’d be able to play Super Mario and all the other ’80s video games on a retro NES. Hmm…maybe this outdated technology lifestyle wouldn’t be so bad after all.