Unexpected Digital Isolation

Last week something somewhat (emphasis on somewhat) interesting happened, so I thought I would try to run through it for this blog post (and also because I’m finding it harder and harder to come up with topics on the spot, send help please).

There’s a lot of construction work going on in my neighborhood. A lot. Currently, a particularly useful crossroad is a mess of mud, machinery, concrete, and asphalt. The reason i’m mentioning this is because I believe said construction work may have been the cause of last week’s disaster. I can’t prove it, but it’s a perfectly logical explanation. To get to the point, last week large parts of my neighborhood lost internet access for about two and a half days.

GASP. SHOCK, HORROR!

I know.

The internet service provider was very vague as to the cause of the problem, but I would not be surprised if the construction work mentioned above was the cause of this, perhaps by accidentally damaging a cable they were unaware of or something to that effect.

Either way, this lack of access to internet (with the exception of using pricey mobile data of course), had some interesting effects that I would like to discuss for a little bit.

I, and I hope many others, occasionally attempt to temporarily escape from the internet, an effort which most commonly takes the form of a vacation. Seeing sights and finding some peace away from the internet hellscape, and all that. HOWEVER. Things are a little different when you’re depending on that internet and it is taken away from you, as opposed to you stepping away from it willfully. I found myself restless, because all my plans for those two days, whether they were doing some course work, watching some videos or series, or just playing some games, were suddenly no longer an option. I had to mentally reschedule a bunch of stuff, and account for the at the time very annoying lack of access to the internet. When it doesn’t happen willfully, losing your internet access suddenly makes you feel quite isolated in an odd way. I have pretty much daily contact with my friends from high school, who are studying in all sorts of different places around the world, but I found myself having to give that up as well due to this. So there I was, twiddling my thumbs, not being able to communicate with friends or do a significant amount of things I usually do, and for the first time in a long while I actually felt bored! Wow! That’s quite unusual these days.

Meanwhile, my flatmate was practically fuming from frustration, as he was now incapable of finishing his preparations for a presentation that was, according to him, *very* important. The lack of access to the internet was suddenly actively harming his academic life, thus really highlighting what everyone already knows, which is that internet access has become a crucial thing to have in modern life, at least in large sections of all areas of the world.

While I was certainly annoyed at the time, I also found those two days quite interesting and reflective. I actually had to find ways of keeping myself busy in the way I used to, back when I was a kid and my parents had a strict ‘one hour of screen time per day’ policy.

I apologize for the slightly rambling nature of this post, and I am very well aware that what i’m describing above is an eye-rolling example of a first-world problem, but it nevertheless got me on a train of thought about the ever-increasing role of the internet in most people’s lives, and I thought it would be worth it to briefly talk about it here.

Anyway, I’m plugged back into the virtual hellscape now, see you all there!

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4 Comments

  • Amanda
    Posted December 3, 2019 at 4:56 pm 0Likes

    Welcome back to the virtual hellscape, at least there are a thousand memes of baby Yoda to soothe your weary soul! 😛 On a more serious note, there’s a reason why I download _all_ the academic articles and have all my Google Docs/Slides available offline – the lack of internet access can be absolutely detrimental to your academic life (imagine not being able to upload your assignment to Blackboard one minute before it’s due…), but there’s only so much we can do (i.e. downloading stuff) to make up for it; most of the time, you need to have a working connection to search things up and submit assignments. And if you, like me, have the internet provider that starts with Z and ends with an o… spotty wifi connections are (annoyingly) more common than not. Don’t even get me started on how annoying it is when streams lag/cut off in the middle of a match, lol. And yet, even as I write this, I’m also aware that what we’re experiencing’s very much “an eye-rolling example of a first-world problem”; it’s interesting how (at least for me) there’s a sense of guilt to grapple with, because while these complaints definitely pale in comparison to other ongoing issues, they’re valid in their own right.

    • Connor
      Posted December 10, 2019 at 8:15 pm 0Likes

      10 points for guessing the right ISP! That’s the one I have as well, and it’s… a struggle sometimes. Also, making sure you have offline access to course materials by downloading them is clever and I should totally start doing that, but I think I’m currently a little too stuck in my ways 😛
      Maybe I’ll learn eventually.

  • Philipp26897
    Posted December 10, 2019 at 5:11 pm 0Likes

    Hey Connor,
    Thanks for your blog.
    I think most of us feel you. Nowadays we are so dependent on the internet even though it can harm us at the same time. In my case I would be happy if I would have no access to the internet while I am studying in order to get things done. On the other hand internet offers us so much to be more efficient. It is like in every scenario, we have to find a balance!

    • Connor
      Posted December 10, 2019 at 8:16 pm 0Likes

      I totally agree that there needs to be a healthy balance, and not having internet access while studying can definitely help to keep one focused. I get distracted pretty easily, so sometimes that would actually be great haha.

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