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A day without the Web

Zachary McCune, who is at the Berkman Center, became an “ambassador” for One Web Day. To rev up for it, he did an anthropological study on himself by going without the Net for one day. He’s blogged his odyssey.

As an example, here’s what Zack wrote at 12:22:

I decide it’s high time I got my daily intake of news. I imagine my fingers crawling over the keyboard to open up,,, and in different tabs. I imagine opening up facebook to “friend” Barack Obama. Does he (or one of his nameless intern/aides) check out your profile before he friends you? I will need to wait to find out.

I remember that I am going to interview the “Plain White T’s” tomorrow. I note that I would be wikipediaing “plain white t’s” at about this time.

I realize that every time I use wikipedia, I end up clicking through to an average of three other articles. So for every wikipedia entry I don’t read today, I am actually not reading four wikipedia articles.

A single tear falls down my cheek.

And at 1:20, amidst all the urges to google this or click on that, he has a quieter moment:

I begin to realize that the internet shapes my sense of self, in that I may be directed by ads, emails, stumbles, or traditional hyperlinks, but I am still an arbiter of what I consume.

The internet suddenly seems to not be a space I inhabit but rather a (re)structuring of my self as a sort of data flaneur.

Oh, just read the whole thing yourself! It’s wonderful.

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