Last week we withdrew from social media.
We spent last week in a cottage at Yanakie near Wilson’s Prom in Victoria. We’d been there before in 2007, but then we didn’t take laptops with us andd phones were just phones, good old GSM mobiles that just worked. This time we had smart phones and we took a laptop to let us check the weather and the news, send the odd email, upload pictures to flickr and the like.
We took the windows netbook that had worked so well during our trip to South Australia. We didn’t expect stellar performance, but we expected something. The same was true of our smart phones – we expected to check the weather and email, but not much more. We were on holiday and tweeting and blogging were off the agenda.
How far off the agenda internet access was became clear the first time I powered up the laptop. It successfully connected to Virgin, but at speeds reminiscent of a slow early nineties dialup link.
In those text based days you could do a lot at 2400 baud, and 9600 baud was stellar, but of course we’re no longer in the text based world. Things timed out on us, so much so that accessing websites was a near impossibility.
Our phones would still let us collect email. I’d guess that twitter would also have worked though I didn’t try. Apps, which are of course really single purpose content display web clients didn’t, for much the same reason the web didn’t work on the laptop. Too slow, too many timeouts.
Fortunately we didn’t need to do any online banking or pay bills while we were way – if we had that would have necessitated a drive to a population centre with a decent 3G service – meaning that we could just revert to a relaxing disconnected world.
We had the radio, we knew what was happening in the world, cellphone coverage was just good enough to let us successfully call and book a table the truly excellent Trulli’s Pizza in Meeniyan the one night we went out for dinner, and that meant a forty minute drive across country Victoria on the one night it rained, but in truth we just unwound and disconnected.
And in the course of this we discovered the pleasure of not being connected…