What Would Happen If We All Stopped For One Week?

Offnet week: No news, no blogs, no opinions.

Photo: Trevor Wilson/Flickr

Most civilized enterprises take breaks, often with everyone going away at the same time: schools observe summer vacations, sports franchises have off-seasons, the stock market closes, and France observes August. In the modern corporate world, it is generally understood that summer (unless of course you live in the Southern Hemisphere in which case it’s technically winter but I don’t feel sorry for you because you get a different night sky) is a time when it’s pleasant to spend more time than usual out of doors—whether it’s by a body of water, halfway up a mountain, or deep in some catacombs.

Therefore, during the summer season, it is expected and sometimes even encouraged for you to take off for a week (maybe two if you’re very senior!) at a time to get sunburned and read a trashy novel while everyone else stays at their air-conditioned desk job and just works around your absence. We all take turns having an “off” week, and everyone is given a grace period where they don’t have to do any work, respond to any emails, or pay attention to the meme of the week. (It’s only really fair in the aggregate, so please, do your part: TAKE VACATION!)

The Internet knows no such reprieve. No matter where you live, no matter what time it is, there’s always content churning and opinions spewing forth from every corner of the globe. It’s not even a cycle, because it doesn’t really ebb and flow it just gets more and worse and bad all the time. I would like to put forward a suggestion or perhaps a plea: let’s all agree to put down our keyboards and take a week off. No tweets, no Facebook posts, no hot takes, no Bloomberg Terminals. Call it: Offnet week. Total blackout.

I know what you’re thinking. You can’t just stop reading the news. Sure you can! It doesn’t mean stuff won’t happen. Spoiler alert: the tree still makes a noise. Also I suppose you could buy a paper paper, but good luck with The Hunger Games: Gray Lady Edition. It would be like a juice cleanse, but for the internet—we can admit that it’s mostly pointless and we would just return to our old bad habits, but for one glorious week we would feel like we’re floating, buzzing, almost light-headed. You wouldn’t be made artificially angry all the time, so your cortisone levels would totally plummet. You might even be pleasant to be around.

What would you do with your offnet week? Where would you go and who would you see? Remember, we’re offnet, so there’s no Instagramming or sharing of any kind. Would you still go see The Bean if you couldn’t take a picture of your reflection in it? Would you still order the ramen burger if you couldn’t geotag it? Would you even still have a pet cat anymore? WOULD ANYONE GO SEE HAMILTON?

No one would comment horrible things on celebrity’s Instagrams, because celebrities wouldn’t Instagram anything. We’d all be living like Tina Fey, who doesn’t even use Twitter or participate in internet inanity (a feat that becomes increasingly as improbable as it is impressive). Best of all, since we’d all done it together, no one would have missed anything. Do you really think you’re capable of knowing everything? Force yourself to let the fuck go.