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I made an account just for this post. 

Some background:

I have about a year and a half of being disconnected from the wired at this point; at that time, the leader of my family's phone plan was in a contract dispute and I—dare I say "on a whim"— asked that my number be cut from the plan as well while she negotiated the call-service representatives. Once done, I removed the SIM card and locked the phone into airplane mode for the remainder of its existence. 

I was already something of a digital Luddite, I didn't get a phone (not even a smart one) until I was already eighteen and I abandoned things like social media like MySpace or Facebook in my sophomore year of high school (2012). It follows that I never got into the services that emerged in the social media wake such as TikTok or Snapchat. I have always been highly skeptical of the claimed benefits of these services and the compulsion by their users to photograph and publish banal activities.

The Daily Grind: 

Once service was disconnected, it became a little harder for someone to get a hold of me. This produced less friction in my life than even I anticipated. My cellular device, though no longer wireless abroad is still capable of using WiFi, which means Signal Private Messenger (my choice of SMS application) would still allow me to communicate with friends and family using that app; at the very least, my inner circle and closest confidants could still reach me when I was connected to WiFi.

As time went on and it became clear that my need to expand that circle and my ability to persuade acquaintances to adopt my favored SMS application were not entirely equal, I looked for solutions to reach out to others. For a time, I carried a pager, just in case there was an emergency requiring my attention and another solution that I found was that e-mail may be used to send SMS & MMS messages to any phone number. Using a service like will show you a phone number's SMS gateway. Sending an e-mail to that address (example: will have the message arrive on the desired contact's phone—and it's free—this workaround has served my needs for sending messages to coworkers and acquaintances. I just ask them for their number first and send a message from my e-mail address, which they are able to reply to just like any other message they get as a text.

Now, Signal allows me to make WiFi phone calls just as it allows me to send WiFi texts. Still, not everyone uses that application, so I bought a MagicJack device ($40/year). The device plugs into my computer and allows me to make phone calls over the Internet, both from a home phone plugged into the device and from my signal-less smart phone via a companion application. The benefit of this was that I had a regular "number" to give people and it allowed me to complete more two-factor authentication practices that require SMS-verification.

The Benefits:

Admittedly, I am hostile toward cellular technology as a whole, regardless, the exercise of being incommunicado for the most part has lead to some surprising benefits. For instance, I know by rote all the phone numbers of my regular contacts. I don't even use the contacts app on my phone though I do keep a book of numbers that I may need to commit to memory; this serves as reference only. This practice has made it easier for me to remember a phone number more quickly and hold it in my brain longer.

Similar to the process of remembering my contacts, I am a much more capable navigator. In retrospect, it disturbs me a little to think of how I didn't always really know where I was. A phone might lead me into some strange part of the state or deep into the city and I wouldn't know how to leave without again consulting the phone. After a year an half of navigating all parts of the Metro Detroit Pinwheel (look at a map of the metropolitan area and you will see the roads form a sort of wheel) by memory with hand-written directions and drawn maps I can reach most any place from simple instructions. This practice also makes one more conscious of the road. I have found more interesting stops and run more exciting routes by taking some time to look over maps before beginning any journey.

You can probably see the theme by now. In giving up my connection to the Galactic Network I have been forced to store more information in my head and as a result, I have been able to tune certain activities to suit my own proclivities. It has also returned me to some hobbies that I lost in the years preceding my wireless celibacy such as reading physical books and keeping a journal.


Well, the experiment isn't over yet, nor do I seriously expect it to end. Smart phones are undoubtedly very powerful tools that can help people get organized and maintain communication between contacts but in my experience, I found that it made me a less capable human being. I value my independence and such a device is—in my mind—inherently a dependency. I no longer worry about my phone's battery as I can always navigate my way home and my thoughts on communication with friends have changed. Since I may be "out of contact" while on the road I am sure to make all necessary arrangements ahead of time. This has lead to being a better planner and more understanding of personal organization as whole because there is no longer a safety-Inter-net to catch me when I fall short.