17/08/2016 11:27 BST | Updated 15/08/2017 06:12 BST

Girl Offline: Why I'm Taking a Break from Life Online

The Girl Offline Series

Think of me like Zoella...but the opposite. She's a young, globally famous, successful, wealthy YouTuber. I'm a 32-year-old, unknown, successful only-in-my-own-tiny-world, super-skint writer, who has never posted a YouTube video in me life.

I am, however, launching a new series today where I am going to open up a conversation about our online consumption, explore the challenges of switching off and I will interview people along the way.

'But you are writing about it online?' I hear you cry! Correct. Well I do love a bit of irony. And besides, I don't have time to set up my own newspaper, nor do I have a megaphone loud enough to spread the word. We all know the Internet is a wonderful thing but I want to take a look at the moments we take our online presence or reliance to the extremes. I want to make people think. If you are reading this on your phone, even better.

The Why?

I've become more than a bit obsessed with the online world. I've got several social media accounts which I spend hours sharing utter sh*te on, I Instagram my food while it gets cold, take sickening selfies, rely on a blue dot to get me from A to B, I opt for Netflix over reading a book and I choose Whatsapp and the use of emojis to communicate, rather than picking up the phone. And I'm scared, guys. I'm scared that I (and so many others) are losing sight of the importance of human connections, face-to-face interaction and appreciating the world around us. Will my one-year-old niece, Rose, ever understand the power of a handwritten letter? I'm just not sure.

28 Days Offline

I'm not going into this blind - I've done my research. In October last year I handed over my MacBook and iPhone to my flatmate to hide, purchased a very crap corded landline phone and I lived for 28 days sans Internet. My god it was eye-opening - difficult at times, hilarious in others - but all in all it was a beautiful life-enhancing experience. I had to plan meetings with friends way in advance, I had to be on time, enjoyed notes left for me in the window of the local pop up shop, I asked real life humans for directions and I received and sent more post than I have in years. More than that, I slept better than ever and found myself totally headache-free. Over the coming weeks in this series I will dip in to stories from that time offline in more depth.

The Challenges

Rather than switching off completely, my plan is to focus on a different area every two weeks and embark on a task to put my online addiction to the test - to see if I can achieve the work of something we are used to only via the Internet by giving it a go while off the grid. I have many ideas - from an A-Z map challenge, using an old school wind up camera, replacing Whatsapp with letters and postcards and, the one I am most excited about, a game of HUMAN POKEMON. YES. But for my first challenge, I will deactivate my Facebook account this Thursday for two weeks and create a paper Facebook. It will literally be a book where I will create profiles using printed photos and putting pen to paper, I will hand out written friend requests and have somewhere in the book for people to write on my 'wall'. I may even go around literally poking people (ooh err) and shout 'LIKE' when I hear a cracking comment. Check back in a few weeks when I will share the results. I for one can't wait.

To be continued.....

The girl offline