On 25th June I wrote a longish post on the way technology seems to have taken the role of master instead of the servant it was intended to be. You can find that post by clicking here.
This is the follow-up post I promised then.
How did I manage without an online presence, without the ubiquitous 24/7 connectivity of today’s society?
Was I able to resist the temptations of digital connection with the world? Yes, and no. I was on holiday, away from home and in a foreign land: Greece, the island of Thassos, to be precise (hence the picture). My daughter’s a holiday rep there and my wife and I went to see how she’s getting on. Splendidly, is the answer to that one, though the work’s relentless and time off is restricted. The island is green and pleasant, warm and rugged and we enjoyed our stay.
I had with me my mobile phone; a less than ‘state of the art’ smart phone that costs me the enormous sum of £5 a month. I also own an iPad and a laptop, but didn’t take the latter. The iPad was useful for reading on the plane to and from the resort. It’s less handy for reading under the sun as the screen reflects the sunlight too much, so I used it only for those reading sessions and, on two occasions, played some music in our room for our entertainment. The mobile I used to contact my daughter on a few occasions so we could arrange to meet and spend time together. Otherwise, the only use it had was on our return to alert the hotel so they could collect us from the airport and re-acquaint us with our car, parked there for the duration.
And that was it.
For the entire fortnight, I made only that use of the technology.
On return home, late on Sunday night, I fired up the Mac on my desk and discovered 964 new emails and 85 new followers on Twitter. I’ve spent much of the past couple of days responding to those messages. I’ve also written a review of one of the five books I read on holiday, courtesy mostly of their library. And, for TripAdvisor, I’ve reviewed the hotel we stayed at the night before we flew and one of the tavernas we visited. I’ll be reviewing all the books in the next few days and putting reviews on TripAdvisor for the places we ate and visited on the island, as I find such information useful myself and assume others are similarly helped by candid reports.
How did I feel about being without the means to communicate with the world? Wonderful. Liberated. Freed from that endless call on my time and attention. Will the experience alter my future behaviour? Almost certainly. After I’ve written this post, done the other reviews and dealt with the 321 photographs I took whilst away, I intend to settle down to some serious writing again. I intend to maintain only a minimal presence online. I shall, of course, continue to blog, as that is also a form of writing. But my presence on FB, Twitter, LinkedIn and Goodreads will be mostly associated with whatever WIP I’m working on and with the results of such work once ready to publish.
I am, after all, a writer. And writers write, don’t they? They certainly don’t spend hours each day attached to social media endlessly chatting. I’m passionate about many things political, social and moral, but I can engage with those issues through my stories, and that’s what I intend to do.
So, I won’t be absent, but I will be less visible. I hope my readers will understand that stance, since it’s mostly for them that I’m taking this route. After all, the more I write, the more books I can make available. Wish me luck?