Could you last 24 hours without the internet?

August, 2016 marks 25 years since the internet was launched. Our reporter spends her first 24 hours off line.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 5th August 2016, 1:39 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 6:11 pm
Lancashire Evening Post reporter Danielle Hayden putting up without the internet for a day
Lancashire Evening Post reporter Danielle Hayden putting up without the internet for a day

Older people have told me there was life before the internet, but I’ve never known it.

When I sent my first email, I was about seven years old in primary school.

When I talk to my friends, I only use social media such as Whatsapp, Snapchat and Facebook - so being told to survive for 24 hours without the internet was quite a challenge for my 22-year-old self.

I had to spend a whole day without email, social media and do my job without the benefit of the internet.

This was in celebration of scientist Tim Berners-Lee’s launch of the web on August 6, 1991.

Doomsday began at midnight, which wasn’t too much of a problem as I was sleeping.

But the feeling I had when I woke up reminded me of the beginning of the Wizard of Oz when everything is black and white.

My usual morning routine of scrolling through Twitter and Facebook to see what’s happening in the world was not allowed, so getting ready for work was actually much quicker and easier.

This can’t be so bad after all, I thought.

Wrong. It was all downhill from there.

I spent the whole morning whingeing about how I couldn’t get onto my emails or use Google to find phone numbers for people.

What was I going to do?

It didn’t take long to realise how pathetic I must seem to the older generation, who had known life before the web, but it didn’t stop me from complaining anyway.

Only half way through the day, and I was already pacing and pulling my hair out - much to the amusement of my colleague Gordon, who didn’t get to know the internet until he was in his late 30s.

I knew I was being a bit of a diva.

But seriously, how was I supposed to find information or contact details, or look up the places I needed to go?

The people I did manage to contact using the phone were slightly amused by my challenge. One kind press officer from the council had to read a comment to me down the phone to make sure I had everything I needed for a story I was working on - but not before a good laugh to himself.

He said it was like ‘the good old days’, which obviously left me giggling nervously and pretending to know what he meant.

Gordon also had to dictate a full press release of information to me, which was very frustrating and took quite a while.

That’s another thing about the internet, it’s so much faster than any other way of communicating information.

By this point, I had started to feel a bit more like a baby in a high chair, banging my knife and fork waiting for the food.

Was I the only one who felt this way? At 3pm, it was time to go for a walk around town and meet people - in real life, that is.

I started talking to people about the internet and their first memories of it and soon realised there was no better way to get information than actually speaking to people, in real life.

By the time I got back to the office I was feeling much better because I had been able to actually speak to people.

I figured that as long as I was out of the office, gathering information by good old fashioned word-of-mouth, then I wasn’t going to lose it.

Getting home from work was my biggest test - could I survive without watching television on Netflix? Or looking at funny videos of cats my friends sent to me?

But going for a walk and reading a book was entertaining all the same. So it turns out that it is possible to live and work without the internet - and even has a few fringe benefits.

But it’s not something I’d like to do every day, so I’d like to issue a heartfelt thanks to Tim Berners-Lee, who not only had the genius idea for the whole thing in the first place, but was determined that it would be available to us all with his historic message ‘this is for everyone’.