A Night Without Social Media: One Reader’s Boldest Experience

Ring the bells—the winner of the "My Boldest Experience" essay contest has been chosen. Behold, a tale of hideous non-connectivity turned existential bliss by Gawker reader Brent J., who is just won a $100 AMEX card. Read and be inspired.

I'm wandering aimlessly in some sort of desolate, disconnected world devoid of instant digital gratification. I remain unable to navigate my surroundings, as the rectangular darkness of handheld displays still floats obstructively in my retinas. I'm forced to use these strange, non-QWERTY based verbal communication methods, which consist of speaking to analog humans existing in some sort of physical reality outside of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Skype, and Google+.

Considering their vast population and density, it appears such beings have managed to mate outside the realms of OkCupid and Match.com. I wade through the crowds, but find myself unable to algorithmically connect with anyone in this vast sea of profile pictures. How do I know what TV shows they like? Their relationship status? Where they went to college? They apparently utilize venues such as bars and restaurants in lieu of email and chat. It's yet unclear if these casual encounters are facilitated by Facebook invites, or by some sort of rudimentary offline process of casual interaction and communication. They also maintain eye contact and seem incapable or unwilling of multitasking, checking email, tweeting, etc. while talking to another physical being. Surely their economy and standard of living suffers from such inefficiencies.

I now know what life was like for our ancestors in the 1990's, relying on such primitive technology. I surely wouldn't survive in such harsh conditions. I am unable to gather food, as my empty hands fruitlessly repeat smartphone gestures in the vain hope a capacitive liquid-crystal display will shine the warming glow of Safari upon me. There is a howling of wolves and the ominous whistling of wind across the WiFi-less landscape. As I stagger through the tundra, I contemplate the fate of my beloved Facebook Friends, Google+ Circles, Twitter Followers, and LinkedIn Connections. If I were to return, would they accept me? Given my lack of Status Updates and Tweets in the last 24 hours, it's likely I have already been written off for dead, replaced by, "People You May Know". I can only hope that if this is indeed the end, my Spotify playlist will be forever immortalized via the newly implemented Facebook integration.

I contemplate suicide but I am unable to access Wikipedia to reference effective methods. It's cold, the nights are getting longer, and I have little hope of ever seeing another Blog Post, Tweet, SMS, or "Like" again. The gusting wind suddenly darkens the candlelight of my Mark Zuckerberg shrine, and for the first time I am truly alone. I sit in silence, minutes turn to hours as I contemplate my ultimate fate. The crest of the rising sun brings a twinkle of daylight into my vision, and an epiphany comes to light. I have been reborn. My eyes fill with color, my hands caress the landscape, the smell of flora fills my receptors, sweetness tinges my tongue, and the chorus of nature engulfs my ears. I am now truly free.

Thank you for all of your entries. Go forth and be bold, like Brent here, and like BlackBerry® Bold™ 9900/9930, the device that gives you all the power you need to boldly go anywhere. And to keep up with those friend requests.