Our Great Internet Addiction…

33 Comments

chrome-charticle Over the last few years, every time I have taken a vacation, I have taken along my Macbook, thinking, well, you never know when you might need to check flight schedules or emails or something else. Given the nature of my profession, it has taken a lot of self-control to limit my Internet usage and, thus, deal with Internet Anxiety Disorder while on the go.

And despite my best intentions, I end up checking the news, writing one or more blog posts, and generally spending time answering emails, working, and therefore missing out on hours of an opportunity to gaze at the beauty of Wyoming’s mountains, laze on Miami’s beaches or simply soak in the billion shades of India.

Apparently, I am not the only one who has this issue. Folks from LogMeIn recently conducted a survey over on LinkedIn. The question they asked was: “Do you plan to stay connected during your summer vacation?” A surprising 85 percent of small business workers said they planned to stay connected during summer vacation, and 60 percent intended to check email and voicemail at least once a day.

I bet now that we have superphones such as Apple’s iPhone or T-Mobile’s MyTouch and Palm Pre, we will be even more connected. I wonder when in the future the notion of vacation will be less about beaches, golf or mountains and more about no connectivity. (P.S. Lately, I have been experimenting with no computer usage for 10 hours a day. That self-imposed Internet diet is helping me think clearly.)

33 Comments

Adelaide hotel

I wouldn’t go on a vacation without a cell phone or laptop. Even if I don’t have them with me I feel something is missing and I don’t feel comfortable. In one hand, we have those things with us not because we are addicted to them, but because our lives are simpler with them. (addiction is a side effect :-) If I go for a walk in a forest, I’d have my cell phone with me in case something happens. The similar thing is with a laptop. I don’t want to miss an important e-mail just because “I’m sick of technology, let’s get back to nature”.

Rafael

This post is wrong.

In the future we will have “augmented reality” devices , we wont make any diference between “stay connected” or “being offline” .

Thats the future of internet. Ubiquity !

Michael Chaney

My iPhone has definitely eased my Information Disconnect Disorder (IDD). I liken it to a nicotine patch for smokers who can’t light up…LOL

rohit

i define connectivity as consisting of two parts = people driven + bits driven. rather than impose any restrictions on either side, i try and balance the two sides of staying connected (during vacations and work) and though it often appears bits driven connectivity is more ‘efficient’, the other is definitely a richer experience. for every email i miss, there is something new to learn in talking to someone and asking them about something they know/like.

Brian

Om,
I too suffer from CLS (connectivity-loss syndrome).

In fact, recently, my family and I vacationed in rural michigan where the only link to the digital world is a 26.4 dial up connection. But, that didn’t stop me.

I built a parabolic dish out of a wok, Sprint USB mobile broadband card and a camera tripod, got 15-20 db of gain and was able to hit the EVDO tower 9 miles away.

But seriously though, when on vacation, my online habits change..they go from keeping up on tech news relevant to my job, to tech interest areas, leisure reading and Project Gutenberg. It’s a connected world we live in.

Best,
Brian

RB

Try back packing in Rocky Mountain wilderness areas. There is no connectivity in the mountain. I didn’t miss my computer and internet for 4 days. Its a beautiful and liberating experience.

davesmall

There is not the slightest possibility that I’d even consider a vacation property that doesn’t offer a high speed internet (or WiFi) connection available. We take two laptops and our own compact WiFi router on our trips (Airport Express) along with a Canon travel printer.

The uses for an internet connected computer when on vacation are too numerous to list here. Here are just a few

->Google Maps work well almost everywhere. It’s so easy to get lost in another country. When trying to find a restaurant, museum, or other place we print a map showing the exact location.
->Some years ago we drove two hours to get to the Alhambra in Granada Spain only to discover that tourist book we had was wrong about opening times and tickets. We couldn’t get in. Now we can check hours and days of operation and buy tickets online.
->On our first trip to the castle at Versailles France we stood in line forever to purchase tickets. This past year we bought them online, picked them up at the will call window, and felt sorry for the people standing in those long ticket lines.
->A real shocker is to pay a hotel bill that includes use of the hotel phone for calls to restaurants, other hotels, and tourist attractions in a foreign country. Even more shocking would be those cell phone bills you could receive after your trip for international roaming charges. We log onto the Internet and use Skype for VOIP calls that cost just a few cents per minute.
->When traveling in Europe we used to purchase the Michelin Guides (red for restaurants and hotels and green for tourist attractions). They are the best and most reliable tourist guides anywhere. Now they’re posted online and you can use them for free at http://www.viamichelin.com. Leave those bulky books at home.
->ViaMichelin also provides free route maps that you can print. When driving on Europe’s high speed highways it’s easy to make a wrong turn and get hopelessly lost. If you print those Michelin route maps ahead of time you’ll even have the exit numbers showing clearly what you need.

Will

I went on vacation recently in Thailand and thought it was simply awesome that I could lay in the hammock overlooking a forgotten little bay and surf the net on my iPod. I enjoy using the internet, so why wouldn’t I use it on vacation where I’m supposed to be focusing on the things I enjoy exclusively anyways?

Cheese

Long ago, people wrote letters – with pen and paper. Then came the phone, the telex, fax. Then mobiles and now the internet – from email to twitter with zillions of options and variants.And then some more. Wow, don’t we love productivity. We are online all the time. Sadly, we need all the tech to keep us online. Our fragile world will fall apart if we are forced into the oblivion of offline, even if it lasts only for a few minutes,or hours. Or so we think.

I manage to leave my laptop behind, at work, every evening. I manage to keep my phone switched off. I rarely, if ever, use the mac at home for “work”.

Yes, it’s possible to stay offline, although there is a seeming downside. I realize that I don’t document my life as much as I would like to. I don’t live-blog my holidays, I don’t keep a dairy profiling the growth of my kid. Heck, I don’t even share photos on a flickr or picassa ! Life’s terrible, right? Wrong. I spend more time living it, than documenting it.

It is a matter of prioritizing..to each his own.

Sumeet

Recently had a vacation at Bali, with no mobile, no internet… best holiday ever! :)

Derrick Harris

The great thing about living in Las Vegas is that if you enjoy hiking or mountain biking — or if you want to see Area 51 — you easily can be out of cell range — at least with T-Mobile — for an entire day only right outside the city. A weekend trip into middle-of-nowhere Utah or Arizona, or Death Valley, accomplishes the same thing. My wife is an attorney, and she describes the experience as being unchained from a weight (her BlackBerry) that is pulling her underwater.

Amit

I just saw an advertisement on top of this page for Intel’s tool called IT Director which has a tagline which says, “One less thing to worry about”. Or is it again, one more thing to worry about, if it succeeds like they might have designs for it to?

I think I am very much addicted to so called “staying in touch with friends worldwide and everyone of my generation too is the same way addicted. But I am sure, like every addiction this addiction is a problem too and if things in life get balanced we might get away with this addiction. If somebody out here really really is not addicted, I sincerely appreciate the person.

Sean Reiser

A while back I wrote in a blog entry on this topic:

“Somehow we’ve gotten to a point where we are always working. Back, before I was self-employed, when this happened to me, I was under the impression it was because I was vital to the company. I felt I was the only one who could fix things. Here we are, in a company with thousands of employees, and I was the only one who could fix things. And if I wasn’t available 24/7 to fix things, I’d lose my job, be homeless, and starve to death in an alley. What an odd combination of ego and low self-esteem.”

I don’t think I’m the only one. Most people I speak to who feel the need to check in daily while on vacations have the same belief that the company (group, department, etc) can’t survive without them and if something goes wrong while they are away they will be fired, demoted, found out to be a fraud.

jasonspalace

you experiment with no internet 10 hours a day, meanwhile they might as well put a chip in me – internet internet internet! =)

Werner Egipsy Souza

Having moved out from the terribly connected world of Mumbai advertising, into the beach town of Goa with a more looser schedule, I will have to say that the tools are a result of the lifestyle.
If we can change the lifestyle, we won’t need the tools, viz. friends of mine who leave their office cells in the office when they go on a vacation.
This is despite the fact that most companies encourage otherwise, e.g. HP who have a policy that calls received during weekends or off-duty hours, will be reimbursed to the employee.

Rex Dixon

There is probably a support group idea here! :)

Seriously, the only time I can really get away is when I go to the lake. It’s a place called Holiday Shores, MO – private lake that I have access too. There is NO CELL reception, NO INTERNET. The lake is man made and surrounded by hills full of lead (big lead/copper mines surround the area – mostly old and abondoned). That is about the only time I am guaranteed on being not connected.

Maybe a support group/resort with no wifi and no cell connectivity – somewhere totally off the grid? What a biz idea if we could get some funding! :)

Rex

Om Malik

I am totally down with a support group. Especially if it involved cooking and eating and no tweeting ;-)

michelle lobo

Loved the post. when i recollect my last few vacations, this is exactly what i have done. I end up using my laptop everywhere i go. And i do have friends on beaches who are doing the same thing that i am…Sure the definition of vacation should be revamped. vacation is a day without internet

Alan Wilensky

A Wonderful woman I met while working in the Valley told me, prior to us leaving for a Big Sur Jaunt, “I can stay un-wired for 3-4 days, after that I start freaking”. I didn’t even think for second that she was joking. I am self employed (gainfully again), as am channels analyst, and I am always on call with too much to do. I need to be connected and therefore I know when to check, when to respond, and I don’t idly surf. When I’m at home base, I have a schedule for reading my professional news feeds.

Amit

But Sir, I guess the question in your case would be like, “Can you do without surfing internet for any damn thing?”. Because people in many many parts of world still do! :-)

Stacey Higginbotham

Alan, as more people become self-employed either as freelancers of some sort or as entrepreneurs, I think the idea of no connectivity is an impossible dream. I can stay offline (for work) for an entire vacation, but it’s because I know that Om and others are taking up my slack. For the self-employed that’s a lot bigger issue.

Also I think that while I love covering broadband, after having a kid, I’ve found a passion in my life that exceeds my news passion, so I’m able to more easily disengage. As she grows older, I imagine my priorities will shift back to connected vacations.

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