Is there really anything further to be gained from Paul Miller being offline?
When I first heard that Paul was going offline back in April, I was in the midst of planning the next stage of his Minecraft pyramid. We'd accomplished much work having dedicated hundreds of hours of our lives toward the project and our beloved leader was fleeing the coup. I thought it was going to be an interesting experiment, but maybe I was a smidge bitter, but I wasn't sure how fantastic of an idea it was. Paul pitched us that he was going to try and become a better person as a result and he'd be able to finally write that stuff he'd wanted to for so long, but couldn't, like the Great American Novel.
It's been nearly seven months and after reading through his Offline pieces, which are on average pretty great, I just don't really see what further can be gleaned from him being off the internet. His articles, in reality, amount to displacing some internet function with an analogous, clumsy and perhaps complex non-internet one. Instead of IM'ing friends, he's having to call them. Instead of merely uploading an article through the Chorus CMS, he's typing it up, placing it on a flash drive, and sending it off to the editor. Instead of knowing what's going on in the world of tech, he now has absolutely no clue and it's frustrating to hear him provide a fraction of the insight he once did when he gets on the Vergecast.
What I haven't heard a lot of is how Paul's relationship with people has changed. The internet isn't just a vessel of productivity or a hive of .gifs, it's a community that he's no longer engaging. It's a social paradigm he's no longer in. It's an audience he's no longer paying attention to. Insight lost. So on. He's spent so long talking about the superficial things that the internet made easier and certainly the time he's gained not wasting it surfing for random Wikipedia articles, but his work suggests that he's really hit some sort of terminal velocity on what can truly be understood or appreciated about not being plugged in.
That and he hasn't written one word about Oceana, so yeah, maybe I'm a little bitter.