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News

DISE Faculty Lecturer Aron Lee Rosenberg and his Year without Internet Featured in McGill Alumni News

Published: 21 November 2023

Most PhD candidates don’t spend a year shunning their topic of doctoral study. But that’s sort of what Aron Lee Rosenberg, MA’19, PhD’23, did when he decided to spend an entire year offline to better understand the impact of the internet. Rosenberg deliberately doesn’t mention Covid in the book. We all know it happened. And though the pandemic accelerated many online trends, it wasn’t the cause.

He prepped for his offline year, acquiring a flip phone and setting up text messaging through SMS (phone) networks instead of MMS internet-based platforms. He ordered the Yellow Pages and White Pages and made a lot of phone calls. He received bills in the mail and paid them by cheque. He eschewed email and started writing letters the old-fashioned way.

Registering for his classes proved to be surprisingly difficult without using the internet. Rosenberg now better appreciates the challenges facing students living up north who face internet problems regularly.

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