We can do better than this.
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"Alexa: Will I ever be free of you?"
I hate to bring this up, but we will never finish Twitter. Instagram will never have a season finale. We'll never solve the puzzle of Facebook. No matter how much we scroll, social media will never, ever, ever, EVER end.
And there is something weird about that.
So let's take a break from swiping and clicking and liking, and get back to enjoying technology on our terms. We can turn our devices into our tools instead of submitting to them as our data-mining, soul-crushing overlords.
Great online stuff to do offline...
Why offline? Because when you're connected to the Internet, you're tempted to click over to Twitter or eBay or Amazon. You're tempted to refresh every single platform. And keep refreshing. (And still keep refreshing.) Being online confuses us into thinking compulsive checking is multitasking. It's not. And anyway, haven't you had enough?
Here are some of the ways to use the internet without it using you:
Download books to your kindle. Actual BOOKS.
Download free books and audiobooks from your library on Overdrive
Download free books and audiobooks from your library on Hoopla
Download free magazines from your library on RBDigital
Download audiobooks, full-cast productions and podcasts from Audible
Download your podcasts to listen offline instead of streaming
Rent and download movies and TV from Itunes or Amazon for offline
Download movies and TV from Netflix and Amazon Prime for offline
Play relaxing, artistic games offline like Alto's Odyssey
Use Pocket to read articles offline
Download music playlists to listen offline
Listen to your downloaded iTunes music to listen offline
When your device is disconnected, you can be far more intentional with how you use it.
One of the ways I broke my addiction to my iPhone was by getting a cheap, dedicated tablet for offline media use. (Don't judge me, it worked.) I never downloaded social media apps, never enabled texting, and broke away from most of the temptations and time-sucking distractions of my phone.
I look forward to my Fire tablet downloads because I curate everything on it in advance, and only connect to WiFi to download my selections. The rest of the time, it's on airplane mode. (I even get file versions of magazines ... remember print magazines?) I don't stream on this tablet. I don't use it to surf the web. It's just my device for music, movies, magazines and audiobooks.
This is the tablet I have and love:
If you're brave enough you can ditch your devices altogether without necessarily being stuck reading parchment by candlelight. (Although that's pretty great, too.)
Great offline media stuff to do without your phone...
Check out a DVD from your library. (DVDs still have great extras, and unlike streaming you won't find yourself bingewatching an entire series for 12 hours just because autoplay was turned on.)
Check out your local radio stations
Cut the cord, get one of these and watch broadcast TV. (Movies! channel, your local PBS station and NHK are great, and with limited selection comes freedom from overwhelm.)
Go serious old-school
Make a film. On actual film.
Get gear for analog dance parties
Subscribe to a paper. (Don't worry, you get online perks too. But Sunday mornings just got way more chill.)
Don't worry, I'm not anti-internet. The internet can be awesome!
If you have to be online, there are many wonderful opportunities there that don't require hitting a like button, upvoting, retweeting, swiping right, choosing your delivery day or putting a selfie through a blur filter. The Internet can be so much more than gossiping and shopping. Take the time to rediscover its amazing uses for education, inspiration, activism (no, not arguing politics on Twitter,) charitable work, creative expression, meaningful collaboration and finding ways to make real life connections:
Excellent ways to spend time online...
Take online classes (some for credit!) instead of mindlessly checking social media and/or shopping
Use microlending rather than echo-chamber hashtags to make an actual difference
Help fund projects for teachers and classrooms
Learn a language
Skip corporate social media and create your own forum
Host online watch party movie nights for all your friends around the globe
Expand your consciousness and learn some really cool stuff
Join others in real life making a difference for the common good
Choose a healthy alternative to social media
Collaborate on real art, narrative and multimedia projects
Make music with others around the world
And if you have to have your phone on...
Be someone's eyes.