I don't understand Paul's experiment
I've had these questions/issues/difficulties with Paul's experiment since the beginning but his latest "Offline: Peeking" article really broke the proverbial straw - I just don't get it.
First, this quote:
the internet was shaping me a little too much
What the heck does that even mean?
Does a hammer shape the carpenter? Does a canvas shape the painter? Does a ruler shape the architect? For Paul, as a technology writer the internet is an essential tool, one that he uses, not the other way around. Can it be a distraction? Well yeah, but only as much as he lets it, no?
Some people make the argument that we've become too reliant on the internet, but to me that seems to be akin to elders in those early societies arguing that the younger generation has become too reliant on this newfangled invention of writing. In fact, it would not be out of the realm of possibility that they in fact argued, in their own words and terms, that writing was ruining their social conduct, that it was making them more isolated, less social because there was no more need to gather and tell stories to each other. Are we a society reliant on, and indeed shaped, by the written word? Indubitably. Would anybody argue that it's in any shape or form negative? I highly doubt it.
How is internet different?
In my opinion it is not.
Then there's his anecdote about the streaming of a sports match in a bar, and how he refuses to look at, for example, a picture on his friend's phone because said friend downloaded it off the internet. Here I'm struggling to understand these strange, arbitrary bounds he's putting on himself. The sports match is a particularly absurd case IMO. I mean, so pretty much the exact same thing streamed over cable A (TV cable) is A Okay, but when it's streamed over cable B (Internet cable) it's not okay to watch?? o_O That does not compute for me.
Just like a carpenter who might think that he's using his hammer too much and decide to branch out into saws and screwdrivers I can understand someone decided to "re-balance" his time and do more book reading instead of twitter reading, but to completely cut yourself off of the internet - I just don't get it.