The Social Networker

by Chris Miller at 06:00:00 AM on Monday, June 23rd, 2008
While on a trip I discovered that people with VGS have a hard time making the switch to a limited technology area for short bursts.  After the original VGS shock at the airport when the phone service lit up correctly but showed no data, the shakes began.  Maybe it was just being around all the airport signals right?  But it lasted.  I knew I would be saved from the spasms in my thumb that began by the time we got away from the airport and to the resort area.

While you cannot always count on affordable high speed Internet access in hotels across the world, the simple lack of any access is rare.  Almost everywhere I go it is present.  I did find that the hotel we are in had a very limited and slow open access point in the courtyard, but no where else in the property.  While driving around the island, we did encounter a couple small Internet cafes with exorbitant access rate plans.  I was even slightly amused and the number of people crowded around a small snack hut on the side of the road.  I imagined the food was incredible or it was a local hang out.  Until I read a very small sign.  "Free Wifi here".

Did I get overcome with VGS and stop at the stand?  No, thankfully we were on a path for the beaches with no laptop tagging along.  I immediately realized that the always connected state we live in gets even harder with the evergrowing presence around us of wireless signals and data across handhold devices.  We have a constant expectation that the Internet now follows us.  So how do you cope when not in that scenario?

First I found that actually using a map was a handy thing to learn growing up.  With no GPS sitting on the dash, or available in the Blackberry (which only got phone service and no data) you had to rely on yourself for once.  Or could I take it one step further and actually interact with a person by pulling over and asking directions.  We had more fun with the one or two wrong turns that led us into adventures we never would have known about.  Such as pulling over to watch a cricket match in progress and accidentally sitting next to a former player under a shade tree that traded us incredible amounts of passion and knowledge about the game for nothing but a smile and conversation.  Or finding a back road with a simple sign that said 'beach' and encountering where the locals hang out, away from the tourist beaches.  We know why they don't share it publicly, and will never tell where it is either with the courtesy we were given.

Second I arrived at the understanding that always looking up everything you wanted to do on the Internet, was not always giving the best answers.  We had a book on where we were, we had scoured the Internet for information and came up with a great gameplan.  Talk quietly with one or two people from the local area and you learn a lot of what you discovered is there for the tourism.  The hidden gems are gathered through actual communication with people that have no desire to always be connected.  People that have on idea what the Internet says about their area and what sights to see.

Jokingly, there was many a geek in the courtyard as I sent this blog posting up getting their quick VGS fixes.  From small handhelds with wifi to full laptops and on Skype, I saw a worker here shake their head, put a drink on the table and say
"relax man, we have live music, open doorways to the pool overlooking the ocean and no stress."

The guy hardly looked up with a smile as he prized his time online.  I said aloud, he will be ok, he has VGS.

  • 1) Virtual Gratification Syndrome (VGS) - Forcing Temporary Remission
    Created by Debbie Farley at 06/23/2008 8:20:46 AM email | website

    Total geek technology withdrawal. I've experienced it myself to a lesser degree, traveling in the Smoky Mountains. But after a couple of days, I found it a relief not to have access all the time. I actually realaxed and enjoyed my vacation. I may even leave my BB at home next month when we go on vacation again. ...maybe.

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This will take far more time than I have today. I will start with I was born and still live in St. Louis, MO. Even though for a couple years I was never, ever here and always on the road, this is smack in the middle of the US. Everything is just a few hour flight. That part is nice. No beach/ocean/coast isn't the best. But with the travel I make up for it.

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