It seems as if we live in an entirely digital world. But there is still an offline world out there. Our daily lives are increasingly characterized by digitalization and networking, both professionally and privately. Autonomous cars, intelligent machines, and social media platforms enthrall us. At the same time, Facebook exhibitionism arouses in some people the longing for a space of discretion; the inundation of Instagram photos makes us want to rediscover analog photography. “In our completely digitalized world, more and more people are looking for creative products made with their own hands,” says Wolfgang Heinen, publisher of the specialist magazine “PhotoKlassik”, who explains why analog photography is becoming increasingly popular.

Longing for silence

Emails, WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and phones, which are still ringing, make up just a small part of the information overload we are experiencing today. This leads to an information overload, decreasing attention, and frustration for some people. It is even said to lead to digital dementia because our brains are in a permanent state of stress. That’s why people are now looking for peace and quiet against this barrage of noise. Does being offline help? Where megatrends get stronger, the countertrends become more powerful too. Acceleration causes deceleration (see also fast food vs. slow food), the data collection frenzy strengthens data protection – and so digitalization strengthens the offline movement.

Offliners – A counterculture?

Dr. Joel Luc Cachelin focuses on digitalization critics in his book “Offliner: Die Gegenkultur der Digitalisierung (2015)” (Offliners: The Counterculture of Digitalization). For Dr. Cachelin, however, it is much than just the question of avoiding an information overload. In addition to the conscious use of media, data use is also important. The book argues the case for a conscious approach to digitalization. “An “offliner” participates in the design of the digital future, in which he has a say.” The book describes sixteen different groups of people who question how we take digitalization for granted and draw attention to its side effects. He sees “offliners” as a counterculture and questions whether and how this culture will be structured socio-politically speaking. An interesting read.

Dr. Cachelin (2015): Offliner: Die Gegenkultur der Digitalisierung.

(english: Offliner: The counterculture of digitization.)