Former Gawker editor Emily Gould has a new article in MIT's Technology Review asking everyone to try turning off the internet (basically) and maybe keep it off until their lives are profoundly altered. Her piece suggests, as an experiment, that the reader "cease to log in to your instant messenger for a week... Delete your profile from Facebook and stop blogging. Stop reading blogs. Stop attending social events you find out about online." (That would definitely alter my life in a profound way!)

Gould concedes that such an experiment is unsustainable in the modern world. She'd just like to see more nuanced books about the internet, balancing positive effects with negative ones, like the way in which "social-media technologies are creating simulacra of social connection."

But even with this hedging Gould adds to an ongoing neoluddite meme that counts as contributors online sock puppeteer Lee Siegel (also considered a partial rather than full-blown internet hater) and a variety of others, many of them named at the top of Gould's essay. The meme surfaces more obliquely in the ongoing backlash against against online commenters and mean blogs and in the retreat from the internet by various high-profile bloggers.

The bloggers always come back. The comments sections continue to multiply. Lee Siegel still publishes online and must still contend with anonymous snipers. The best one can hope for, in walling away the modern world, are some new insights. Which you will then be DYING to blog.

[Technology Review]