21 years of tech ends with… paper
I started my first website when my son was 6 months old which was a ridiculous time to undertake filling up what little spare time I had.
He is now 22 years old and about to graduate from university, and I am about to graduate from two decades of tech writing.
I am dealing with a family issue that is taking a lot of time, a new job which is taking a lot of time and getting used to the fact that our beloved children have now both left home. So much has changed in such a short time and after reading Digital Minimalism, see article below this one, I decided to step away from tech when I didn’t need it.
The results have been more life-changing than I expected, and enlightening to say the least.
I no longer write freelance tech articles for magazines.
I don’t visit Twitter any more (initially due to Elon’s appalling management of the company, but latterly for other reasons).
I don’t visit Facebook.
Almost every WhatsApp conversation, apart from work and specific chats, have been muted.
Instagram is a rare check-in.
My phone is left alone for hours at a time and I feel somewhat freer that I have been for a long time.
As I started my new job I was writing my notes on a Boox e-ink tablet, but it wasn’t big enough so I started using the iPad. Within a day I was using an A4 notepad and a (real) pen, and I haven’t looked back since. Everything is on real paper; notes, tasks lists, references etc and it works for me in a less stressful way.
In the space of a few weeks I now feel that ink on paper is the true copy whereas previously everything had to be stored digitally so that I could read it and check it over and over again.
I use my phone sparingly; no more scrolling for 30 minutes to find 1 or 2 snippets worth reading on Twitter, no more scrolling through Instagram or Facebook and a catch up on the news once a day rather than multiple checks to see what has happened in the world that I ‘must’ know about instantly! It opens up everything else that was being missed because I was staring at a small screen and the feeling is hugely satisfying.
This has led me to appreciate what is in front of me and to understand that the amount of wasted time online is huge. It’s crazy when you realise, but the social networks, internet and all of the other new innovations may just be a blip. They may be temporary as some people step away and start living their lives with real people in the real world. I have no evidence apart from the majority of people I know online rarely posting on Facebook or Twitter anymore, and the fact that there appeared to be a period of a few years where it was all new and heavily used.
It is no longer new and I genuinely don’t believe it can continue as it is without big changes. Maybe something new will come along, but that will likely also be temporary and so many may end up trying to return to largely offline lives which of course makes perfect sense.
I like my new tech-adverse life. I like that I don’t need to tell anyone else what I have done anymore. I certainly don’t need to wish my wife or children a happy birthday online and I don’t need to write my opinions on this site again.
It’s time to step away and to appreciate what the past 21 years have given me since the website started. It is time to step away and wish you all well whether you remain offline, online or wherever else the tech titans want to drag everyone in the years to come. It's been fun, but guess what- sitting down with Joanne for 21 minutes and having a chat over a coffee is more fun than the past 21 years in their entirety.