Jake Davis, 19, was arrested a year ago for being part of an internet hacking thing I don't entirely understand but which I admit, I found rather amusing. One of the conditions of his bail is No More Internet. I'm probably not the only person who finds myself envying him this, just a little bit. (I'm not so much envying the potential extradition to America, where they don't like people who make them look silly.) I found the whole article about Anonymous fascinating but Davis' piece about his forced exile from the internet was unexpectedly moving.
'Things are calmer, slower and at times, I'll admit, more dull. I do very much miss the instant companionship of online life, the innocent chatroom palaver, and the ease with which circles with similar interests can be found. Of course, there are no search terms in real life – one actually has to search. However, there is something oddly endearing about being disconnected from the digital horde.
It is not so much the sudden simplicity of daily life – as you can imagine, trivial tasks have been made much more difficult – but the feeling of being able to close my eyes without being bombarded with flashing shapes or constant buzzing sounds, which had occurred frequently since my early teens and could only be attributed to perpetual computer marathons. Sleep is now tranquil and uninterrupted and books seem far more interesting. The paranoia has certainly vanished. I can only describe this sensation as the long-awaited renewal of a previously diminished attention span.
For it is our attention spans that have suffered the most. Our lives are compressed into short, advertisement-like bursts or "tweets". The constant stream of drivel fills page after page, eating away at our creativity. If hashtags were rice grains, do you know how many starving families we could feed? Neither do I – I can't Google it.'
Image by Emilie Bjork, via East Side Bride.