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Paul Miller's Internet Self-Discovery Speech Explores Life Offline

 - Dec 19, 2013
In his internet self-discovery speech, Paul Miller describes his self-proscribed, year-long internet ban. This prohibition likely seems ludicrous to a society who speaks internet and social media as a second language. Then 26-years-old, Miller felt deeply overwhelmed by the constant influx of information available on the internet. He made the personal choice to take himself offline in order to combat the feeling that he was being defeated and suppressed by the internet.

The positive result was that Miller's interactions became more personal and intense. Not only was he not physically distracted by technology and social media, his mental faculties weren't preoccupied with it, making him more emotionally available. However, he also reported feeling "out of sync" with his social circle, often missing important events by being hard to get a hold of. This caused him to withdraw from people. Moreover, his ensuing boredom was satiated with video games rather than the productive activities he sought to accomplish.

After coping with the initial panic and stress of returning to the online realm, Miller realized his internet sabbatical hadn't necessarily made him a more productive person. In other words, you can change your circumstance, but you will still be the same person. As a result, Miller dedicated himself to others; this allowed him to dictate the things he found important back to the internet, ultimately finding a healthier balance.