I saw an interesting graph a few days ago that asked an interesting question, and I was curious where our readers fell in regards to this question. The question was, “What would you give up? Books, TV, Internet, Smartphone or Tablet.” We are, after all a smartphone and tablet website. But I thought it was important to fully define these terms so that we could all be really clear what we were dealing with.
First of all, assume no brands. For our purposes here, an iPhone is the same as a GS5 is the same as a Lumia Icon. Same applies for tablets and computers (a Dell is the same as a Mac, etc.) Put aside all incredulity you are likely feeling at these statements and just go with me here. We’re running a poll here, not inspiring flame wars. We’re going as generic as possible.
We’re measuring your responses on five different categories here: Smartphone, Tablet, TV, Books or Internet. There will be two polls – what would you give up first, and what would you give up last. We’re also not necessarily talking about permanently giving these up. More like a self-imposed endurance challenge – say you’re giving something up for Lent or something. You will get this stuff back. That being said, let’s get into some rules and definitions.
Let’s call it 40 days and 40 nights, much like the Josh Hartnett (holy crow, remember him???) movie. You will voluntarily give up the form(s) of entertainment for 40 days – like a fast, but with more nutrients and less migraines. As far as how you’re “giving it up”, that is up to you and your imagination. If you picture yourself testing your will power every day and just ignoring what you should, then that’s cool. If you imagine yourself moving to an alternate universe in which your selection simply doesn’t exist, that works too.
Books are easy right? That’s gotta be a no-brainer. Except, for “books”, we’re going with all reading material. If it’s words and sentences printed on hard copy, you’re not reading it. That includes books, newspapers, magazines, and instructions for your Legos and everything in between. Heck we’re even going to paper over the back of your cereal boxes and then what will you do with your morning? You will get no nutrition information – but this is a bonus if you’re a smoker.
We’re also killing all e-books and e-subscriptions. Aha! Thought you found a loophole huh? No such luck. Newspapers and book publishers do not exist and therefore neither does their content.
We’ll make an exception for street signs and labels – you can still discern chicken soup from beef soup. Congratulations.
TV is pretty straightforward. Turn off your TV and take it out of your house. No friends houses or bars either. You’re gonna have to miss out of the Blackhawks repeat this year. Sorry about that.
Hulu? Netflix? Amazon Prime? Yep. Gone. At least the TV content is. This is a grey area, so we’re going to blanket remove everything under 90 minutes in length. No more binge-watching for you.
Pretend your brand new OnePlus One that just came because you smashed your iPhone got lost in the mail. You can run out and get a flip phone for phone calls and texts. Heck, we’ll even let you play Snake and use the WAP browser, you poor soul. But other than that your phone sits in your pocket. The good news is, it sits in your pocket for 5 days on a single charge, so it’s not all bad.
This is even easier than smartphones. All gone. If you’re playing a game or surfing the web, you’re doing it on a screen 5” or smaller. That right, we’re getting rid of phablets too. Remember what I said about no loopholes? So no Galaxy Note 3’s, or LG G Flex’s. Sorry. You’ll be surfing on a tiny screen or a laptop, with nothing in between.
Kindle Fires and e-readers are included in this category as well. Again – no loopholes.
Isn’t that what makes all these things useful? Well, yes, so we’re going to exercise a little creative license with this one.
You can have your computers, smartphones, and tablets. You can have all of your apps. We’re going to give you some notice before we break your Internet and it’s capability to connect so you can feel free to update and binge download before the shutdown. You can play Angry Birds, and have your train schedules loaded. But Facebook and Twitter and Google Plus and all other social media are gone. There is no cloud. No Netflix or online streaming. No data, no WiFi. We’ll allow data transfer over a WiFi network only for transferring files between devices, but otherwise it stays in the family.
Not so easy a call now is it? That’s actually kind of the point of this thought experiment. Heck, maybe I’ve even inspired you to try something like it. Maybe you won’t go crazy with it, like some tech writers from a competitor’s website I could mention. But if you want to test yourself, I say go for it. We all need our challenges every now and then. Who knows, after the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup (again), maybe I’ll see what a TV free life is like for a few weeks.