“Incommunicado, as an adjective or adverb, refers to a situation or a behaviour due to which communication with outsiders is not possible, for either voluntary or involuntary reasons, especially due to confinement or reclusiveness.”

That’s what Wikipedia says. And we are not talking about those short periods of poor mobile reception or those agonising 2 hours on a inner-European flight when we have to switch off our beloved iPhones. However, it sometimes happens, especially when travelling, that we experience longer periods being ‘off the charts’, when we end up not updating our Facebook status or reading emails for days. For some of us that seems unthinkable, even on holidays. We all became so busy networking, being present on various social platforms, sending back and forth emails and text messages and finding out answers to any questions coming to our mind immediately – like finding the latest review of the restaurant we’re standing on front of while pondering if we should enter or not – that we take it as granted.

And suddenly, it stops working. You might have switched off data roaming because of the prohibitively high costs or your sense of adventure let you wonder into areas far beyond the reach of communication antennas. In the old days the explorers did draw maps claiming ‘here be dragons’, identifying them as uncharted territory. Nowadays, this would be the equivalent of ‘no wifi’.

First of all, you will still continue picking up your phone, iPad or laptop in disbelieve, looking for those illusive signals.

“After a while, however, I slowly started to feel ‘free’. I mean, it’s not that I don’t like networking and keeping in contact with everybody at all times.. well, I’m still not quite sure how people with 3500 Facebook friends do it! Anyway, the point is that when you suddenly become disconnected, you start looking at it in a different light. You evaluate. You look at your every day life ‘from the outside’, and you learn to differentiate. You appreciate the benefits of your networking activities and you acknowledge that some things you do are maybe just for entertainment. There’s nothing wrong with that either, of course.. it’s more a question of seeing the difference between ‘I must do it’ versus ‘I’d like to do it’.

I believe this progress is understanding is pretty important, especially nowadays where we increasingly communicate with people we haven’t even met yet. It’s important to understand, because only this way we can distinguish between contacts, acquaintances and, ultimately, friends. It’s about understanding what connects us.

And no, I didn’t ‘un-friend’ anybody. I visit some social networking platforms less frequently. Some more. I start Photoshop before launching Skype. It’s just another way of focussing on what is important to you.”