What if the Internet went down?

Golden Gate crisis phone

Have you ever thought about what life will be like if we suffer some horrible calamity like a huge earthquake, meteor, or volcano? You’ve probably made lists of things you’d need in order to survive such a catastrophe.

But what about the unnatural disaster of the end of the Internet? Don’t ask me how it could happen. I’m not that well-informed when it comes to how the Internet actually works (though I have heard there is such a thing as a “kill-switch.” But I do know how much we depend on it.

So how would you survive if the Internet were to suddenly disappear? Here’s my top six list of things to do and things you might need. Just in case.

1. Telephone – If there were no Internet, we’d have to resort to using the telephone again. Luckily conference calls can still be arranged via telephone, so the Internet isn’t a total requirement for communicating. But then there’s keeping up with the stock market and local news. How would we know what’s going on on the east coast when we’re on the west? The telephone can convey a lot, but people sometimes talk without thinking. Email or Tweets can be written precisely, using the exact wording necessary. News dissemination would slow down to a crawl. People would have to call their brokers to make trades, and the stock market would have to go back to older methods to keep people up-to-date with the changes.

2. Telegraph - Maybe this won’t be necessary, but it can’t hurt. So go grab a telegraph machine from Ebay (before the Internet goes down, of course), and take an online class to learn how to send and interpret Morse Code.

3. Entertainment - Gone are online video games, watching online movies, and the like. So you’ve got to find some other source of entertainment. Maybe people-watching, or computer games on CDs, or charades with your friends, or even board games with your family. Be creative. Buy a real live deck of cards or chess set and have some fun.

4. Get out of the house – This may be a novel idea, but without the Internet, you may actually have to venture outside of your office or your house. You might consider going for a walk (or a drive) and visit friends you haven’t had to see in real life for a long time. Go see a movie in the theater, order pizza in-person and eat it in the restaurant. Go shopping in an actual store, and pay with actual cash (I think the credit card machines are connected to the Internet…I’m not sure, though…they do make that modem connection sound though).

5. Laugh out loud, for real – How often do you type “LOL” when you’re not really doing it? So get to it! Watch a funny movie, hang out with your friends (the ones you haven’t seen in years though you talk to them all the time on Facebook), and experience the joy. Then be sure to tell everyone, “LOL! In fact, I’m ROTFLOL!” And everyone will be able to witness this miraculous event.

6. Sunglasses/umbrella – These kinds of weather accessories are for your protection when you venture outside.

All jokes aside, I got to thinking about all this because I sat down with my laptop in a place with no wireless Internet. I sat there in front of my open computer, staring at the screen, trying to figure out what in the world I could do with no Internet. I couldn’t update my blogs, check my email, check my Facebook, play an online video game, watch an online movie, surf the Net, check on my grades for my class, read articles, check the weather, or read the news. I realized I really couldn’t do anything. Except open up a word processing program (Notepad seemed like a safe option), and write this blog post to be posted later.

We really do depend on the Internet. People send emails, use social networks, and talk “face-to-face” with webinars and Skype. This is how many of us stay in touch with friends, family, colleagues, bosses, and clients.

But imagine the thousands of people (or more) who rely on the Internet to make a living. (I actually hope to be one of those people.) Without the Internet, a lot of people would be out of work. People wouldn’t be able to move money around in their bank accounts (unless they called the bank or actually (*gasp*) went into the branch. Internet marketers, those who make a living from blog posts, Adsense, and affiliate sales, would quickly lose their source of income . People who have Ebay stores would suffer a similar fate.

What would you do if there were no Internet? How would your life change?

40 Responses to “What if the Internet went down?”

  1. Men this question is absolutely unimaginable. Internet Down? Ah Ah. Lets think again. The whole world might crumble

  2. Mia says:

    That’s a scary thought, probably I’d start playing freecell :)

  3. I know that the internet is a huge convenience and makes world communication and business so much easier. However, I have to say that there is some part of me that feels that not having it wouldn’t be all bad. I might actually see my teenagers more, and we might actually revive more face-to-face and personal forms of communication, which I really miss sometimes. People would actually have to take the time to write real letters; and might, gasp, actually have to remember proper grammar!

  4. Creative says:

    Actually, I think it would be a good thing. People would start living in the “real” world again with one-on-one contact as opposed to cyber-based transactions. We are basically living in a “man vs. machine” world anyway, as of now. Ahh, the joys of going back to the primitive ways of raw emotion and experience without techno gadgets & contraptions being the only means of actuality and/or activity… This is an excellent subject to talk about, by the way. For whatever reason, it reminds me of how much I’m looking forward to garden season again, next year. Ya know, getting out there and experiencing life without electric wires. Oh, how so cool… Ha-ha!

  5. A disaster interrupting the internet is very plausible. Just this year there were several cases where the large undersea cables which link the continents were damaged. This seriously degraded the connection between several countries and causes more strain on other links as traffic is re-routed.

    A scary thought…

  6. For those of us who rely on the Internet for work, I imagine we’d be spending lots of time getting out of the house. Unfortunately we’ll be going out to look for new work!
    Andy @ FirstFound´s last blog post ..Facebook’s New Currency Launched

  7. If the internet died, people would be forced once again to maintain real communities local to where they live – and these are important because they impact on real living (crime and so forth). These communities are by their very nature less ephemeral than their online counterparts and as such I value them more.

  8. Yes, life would go on, I’m not dependent on it for anything material, but I would SO miss all the amazing people I have come to know online, and window on a world I cannot physically reach because of my mobility issues. Very scary thought, I’d be much more lonely, and cut off from most of my children to a very real degree.

  9. If the internet went down, I don’t think that it would be much different from an atomic bomb and people would surely die as a result. For example, aid agencies would be delayed in delivering aid and companies would have to stop or drastically slow down the production of essential goods if their systems were to be significantly disrupted.

  10. life probably go on, but the whole economy would shut down. people will have to send letters again and life will become slow. people would be cut of from relatives and because of all the banks running on online software people also be cut of of their money.

  11. green coffee says:

    I make a living off the internet but I also think that it wouldn’t be so bad if the internet were to go away. I’d most likely have to find a different source of income but overall, I wouldn’t mind laughing out loud for real or ordering a pizza in person. :)

  12. Dan Henrique says:

    If Internet went down, I’d go down with it too. lol. Internet is my life now and I love what I do. Good article, by the way.

  13. sidashru says:

    If the internet died, people would be forced once again to maintain real communities local to where they live!
    sidashru´s last blog post ..Обзор №10- Блог Euro

  14. For the people whose job doesn’t depend on internet, I know this is not a big deal for them. But for me, it really does because surely I will lose my job. My work relies on internet and if it went down, I will not earn. I’m wishing that this will not happen.

  15. bibspinku says:

    Cores of peoples will jobless if the internet went down.

  16. Jim says:

    Robert Heinlein wrote about this situation. We must dig deeper and wait out the nuclear winter in the bunker :)
    Jim´s last blog post ..Underwater Ice Fishing Cameras – Best Tips And Tricks

  17. Life without the internet? It would probably be very boring!
    I use the internet everyday. But, what if it’s really gone? I think that I just have to look at the brighter picture. Like, do more productive things outdoors, and spend time with family and friends. :)

  18. JohnK says:

    I would hate to think if the internet went down for a long period of time. We have become so accustomed to being “plugged in” that it would take a big adjustment period.

  19. I can’t even imagine what it will be like if the internet went down even for just a day. Many businesses and establishments won’t be fully operational and will likely result to a decrease in the stock market. Hope that this will never happen.

  20. You mentioned what would happen if you made your money from the internet… that breeds the question what happens to your business when your internet goes down while the rest of the world keeps humming. Not being able to reply to customer inquiries, stop hackers and stay engaged is a very scary thought.

    I imagine internet services will become more expensive as the world becomes more dependent.

  21. I think internet is part of the everyday life right now. It is very much important if we are looking for the research, contacting our loved ones and gaining lots of information. I think if internet gets down, people will get rumble and they feel lack of something with themselves.

  22. Surfing the Internet is one of my favorite past time. It enables me to get information about updated events. As well as it become one of the important medium of communication. So without it, probably half percent of the communication channel will run off. That’s terrible! And I think each one of us here doesn’t want that to happen.

  23. There are so many little things that we do every day, as well as big things, that would be impossible w/o the internet. It’s kind of a scary thing to think about!

  24. It is such a great problem if the internet went down not just only in a specific country but all over the world. Since nowadays that most of our technology and information are sent and supported by the internet. I hope it will not happen.

  25. If the internet went down i would lose my business! Lets hope that doesn’t happen :)
    Internet Guru´s last blog post ..Selecting A Quality Domain Name

  26. Read the story and it sounds horrible to even think of a life without internet. In 24 hours, I spend 15 on internet. If internet goes down even for an hour, I get restless like it runs in my blood now. I hope the bill won’t be passed unanimously, if it happens Obama is going to make us cry by shutting down the internet. Certainly, I would have to find a job if internet goes down.

  27. R. Ruth says:

    20 years ago this would not be a problem. Today our whole society is engulfed in computer technology. Banks, businesses, our cars, all transportation and communications are too deep into this technological world. Would we even be able to get and use cash like the good old days?
    R. Ruth´s last blog post ..Warning- Read This Oakley Half Jacket Review First

  28. lol…i guess life was really boring before internet age :)

  29. Ron says:

    If internet will get down, people will not get used to it. But thanks for the things that you have suggested.Even without the internet, we must enjoy life and be able appreciate life.
    Ron´s last blog post ..Dressing tips for man boobs answered by women

  30. This is actually a very interesting question since at the present days internet is one of men’s primary necessities next to cell phones and television. What would people do without the internet? Example is Egypt when they have internet blackout. Everyone was affected including its major impact in the many commercial establishments.

  31. Dr Nose says:

    Interesting post as I think people rely on the internet so much that much of society and commerce would struggle to functon without the internet now. Although I think we would certainly get by we would realise how much we depend on it.

  32. I know a guy that does indeed say ‘LOL’ after a joke in real life. Needless to say, we don’t tell him jokes anymore!

  33. Sinusiti says:

    If there was no internet I should invent a new job, and maybe I strive to create Internet. Lol! :-)

  34. Tracey says:

    I know what with the Mayan calendar coming to an end, people are worried. I think if there was no internet, we would be okay. We’d probably have to take a step-back from our daily busy lives…but at least we’d be okay.
    I think a lot of changes, with my day job…and banking…and how business is done would change, but we’d survive…we always do.

  35. Anony-mouse says:

    Assume that the Internet will be taken down (at least temporarily) by our own governments and respective militaries. They’d have to in order to move forward to their New World Order mentality–you can’t have the citizens of the world organizing themselves. Also assume that phone systems will be down (wired and wireless) and that FM stations will be taken over and shut down, too. When you control communications you can ruthlessly take over.

    Don’t treat the topic so trivially. Almost everything is planned, coordinated or tracked on the Internet now. Almost everything will be negatively affected.

  36. We had a small taste of that with the black out the other day didn’t we. If the internet goes down lets all hope it is temporary or we are in big trouble..

  37. I hope that it never happens. Internet has played a major role to any business and without it, what will it be like? It will probably leave millions jobless!

  38. life was really boring before internet age

  39. We had a small taste of that with the black out the other day didn’t we. If the internet goes down lets all hope it is temporary or we are in big trouble..

  40. No email, Twitter or Facebook. No buying online. No stock trades. No just-in-time industrial shipping. No real-time tracking of diseases. It’s gotten so that not just the entire Internet but individual websites such as Google are considered critical infrastructure, experts said. “Nobody would die, but there would be a major hassle,” said computer security expert Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at F-Secure in Helsinki, Finland. It will be fun!).