By Don Nicholas • 07/30/2012
From AOL dial-up to always-on-the-grid broadband in 19 years.
I started to do it a dozen times: cancel my AOL account and give up my treasured AOL screen name. Today I finally did it: I canceled my AOL account. The customer service representative noted that I had been a customer for 19 years. AOL was my professional and personal email identity for a number of years. When I switched to an email address with my company’s domain name, I still kept my AOL service to access the Internet when I was traveling. Many years ago I stepped up to a broadband card. I also had a T-Mobile hotspot account for use in airports. I needed multiple ways to get onto the Internet for fear of being disconnected, off the grid, isolated from the world. It does cause me to wonder what the hell I was thinking.
If it sounds like I’ve become less concerned about being connected to the Internet at all times, I’ve misrepresented my current digital status. My iPhone and iPad both keep me connected to the Internet 24/7. I have broadband Wi-Fi at home and at work. And just in case I need a big screen when I’m traveling, I still carry a broadband card for my laptop. As a digital publishing consultant, I think my paranoia about being off the grid is justified. I’m also doing my best to experience the digital world from an audience development perspective. After all, how can I help my clients set their digital publishing strategy if I’m not a consumer myself?
Not so special
I suspect that I’m just not that special in my need to be connected. I’m pretty sure most of my clients, who are digital publishers and marketers, are equally obsessed with being on the grid. With that said, I’d be curious to know how many of them, and of you, still have your AOL account or some other means of connecting to the Internet whose time for you has passed.
At one point I thought about putting a Wi-Fi zone on our sailboat so I could be in touch even when I was at sea. Fortunately, I came to my senses and thought better of it. Sometimes a guy just needs to get off the grid. Except for my iPad, of course.
Feel free to share thoughts about your obsession with connectivity.
Posted in Digital Magazine Publishing