My week in the black hole – is the digital world changing the way we live?

I, of all people, have spent a week (almost) without a Smartphone. I’ll pause while you gasp…

I am what people would call a ‘superuser’. My phone is with me 24/7. Well, until the Durban July happened and my phone stayed in Durban while I flew back to JHB. I’m now using a handset that I’m sure was made in China in 1994.

I decided to treat this temporary break from my heart and lungs as an experiment.

Here are my findings:

1. Life goes on without a smartphone

2. Going places isn’t as fun when you can’t check in and make your friends jealous (okay that one is not actually true)

3. Talking to people on the phone is not only novel, but also quite pleasant

4. I had to remember how to spell again

5.  My brain has become a lot quieter

6. People annoy me less

7. My true friends revealed themselves

Granted, I did still have access to social media sites via my laptop and iPad, but the constant presence of the digital world became mild and more voluntary.

It has really been pleasant I must say.

This bears plenty of philosophical questions…

Has society transformed into online memes? Have we lost our touch with humanity? Can we still differentiate between real and digital? With the online and offline world fast merging into one social ‘being’, is it possible to still separate the two?

Back in the day, we used to have personal personas and professional personas. Is this still possible today?Are we actually at that point in social evolution where we can no longer put on the ‘decent human being’ mask for one crowd, and let loose for another? Is the digital world forcing us to be more honest and more moral?

My personal feeling is that the digital social world is not actually isolating us from real life, it is just creating another facet of it. A facet that demands honesty and integrity. Is that really bad?

What are your thoughts?


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