Tuesday, December 26, 2006

An Internet-Free Week

From about early December to late January the academic world takes a little breather as many universities end their fall quarters and start their spring. Many students and faculty are away, the universities are ghost towns. A time for rest, a chance to catch up on some of those tasks we've been putting off for the fall. A chance to get ready for the next quarter or semester. This week between Christmas and New Years marks the nadir of activity: Absolutely nothing interesting should happen this week.

But over recent years this season seems far less quiet. We also work in a more global society and many countries, like Israel and India, treat this week not much differently than any other week. We can access the internet from anywhere and more importantly, we know everyone else can access the internet from anywhere. Taking time to visit relatives and friends or even going on vacation for many does not mean a break from email. Yesterday, Christmas Day, I received several actionable emails almost at the level of a typical workday.

We need an internet-free week. We should just shut down the whole network for seven days. Some people would use the time to relax and take a break knowing they will not be missing anything important. Others would continue to work finding themselves surprisingly much more productive than usual.


  1. Connectivity and productivity are negatively correlated. (Productivity meaning creative work, of course, as opposed to dealing with administrative bullsh*t.)

  2. Yes, I fully support this suggestion for an internet-free week. And I propose having this week in the middle of February.

    Why not? It is implicit in your post that you want to have this week now. But, as you said, not all of the world is Christian, and the bids for the internet-free week is open for all citizens of the net to decide. And remember: there's about 2 billion Chinese and Indians.

  3. I am mostly appreciating the irony of making an internet post about organizedly not using the internet

  4. #1: When you're working with people, administration is not bullsh*t.

    I almost ended up in an illegal immigration status because my post-doc advisor thought that administration is bullsh*t.

  5. Or one could simply take a week off and set-up a vacation auto-reply. That way, if you want to go on your vacation during this week off, you do not have to give up two arms, a leg and a kidney. If you forget to print your hotel reservation, you'd not have to sleep on the streets. If you run out of money, you can still get some from an ATM or a bank. Additionally, the rest of the world can still work.