Day 22

Each day is getting harder now.  I only have 8 days left so that’s what I am trying to remember.  I am much more emotional, still feeling a little dizzy and not quite right physically, and noticing that I am really starting to yearn for the physical presence of another person – on the same side of the glass as me.

Some may think that I am not ‘isolated’ because I can still interact with people on the other side of the glass.  It’s true that I can see people and even communicate in short messages back and forth.  From the outside, it’s easy to say it’s not isolating when you can have that. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, the glass represents a computer screen and the short communications back and forth represent how we tend to communicate online.  I haven’t been able to have any real meaningful conversations this way, but just seeing people can make me feel better. However, sometimes it can make me feel worse because it’s frustrating and reminds me that I am not able to interact with them face-to-face.  The first thing I do when I see a friend is hug them.  Or at least, that’s what I would normally do and now it’s feels uncomfortable to not be able to.  Almost like it hurts to not be able to.  Especially when I am having a bad day.

I am losing interest in video chatting because well it just isn’t the same and again is a reminder that I can’t be face-to-face.  It has also proven to be a particularly bad way to communicate when trying to clear the air with someone.  The last few days, I have been sending emails and text messages back and forth with one of my closest friends who has done a ton of work on this project for me and Josh – namely this website and hosting our First Friday event among a million other things.  Because emails and text messages can easily be misunderstood, we have not been speaking and tonight we tried to talk on Skype, but it’s really not an easy way to communicate serious emotions.  You know when you are arguing with someone, then there are some tears, then you hug, and then everyone feels better – well it doesn’t work like that on video chatting.  It’s more like, you say a few things, you feel like you are still misunderstood, there is definitely no hugging, and then there’s an awkward goodbye.  That’s why video chatting will never be a replacement for the real thing.  So tonight I am sad that I can’t communicate effectively how I am feeling to someone I respect greatly and appreciate a ton.

19 Responses to “Day 22”

  1. C Says:

    I sort of know how you’re feeling. I had to do long distance with my girlfriend for close to a year. We saw each other a few months out of that year, but we mostly communicated through skype. Arguments, bad days, good days, celebrating were all very hard without physical contact. I am intrigued in what you’re doing and wish you the best of luck

  2. melissa Ivory Says:

    there is a lot of truth in what you say here, and it is all very interesting. i have some experience dealing with people i care about over an internet connection, and find that learning how to be careful in what one says is imperative. from reading your blog, as i’ve just learned about this project you’ve undertaken, i can tell that you are used to interaction, and because of that, this project is a challenge for you. someone like myself, who is withdrawn from people and does not interact easily with others, could do the same experiment with vastly different results. because of that, i wish you luck, that this doesn’t tax you as much it seems that it may, and i’m sorry if i sound stranger than i intend to sound.

  3. Tim Kenney Says:

    What you’re doing is important, Cristin. And has value to us as a Society.

    Similar to a solo survival experience, you are at the extreme end of human experience and much will be required of you. But you will have much to report to the rest of us.

    I am reminded of John Muir, who after an accidental injury to his eye, spent 6 weeks in a darkened room. When he recovered, he was driven to continue his solo experience in a 1,000 mile walk across the United States; to discover Yosemite and spend the rest of his life as an advocate for the preservation of our wilderness.

    I am reminded of Joshua Slocum, who in 1895 and in a 37 foot wooden sailboat, circumnavigated the world…alone.


    Amelia Earhart
    Sir Francis Chichester
    Mark Wood

    This adventure is not for everyone. And is exhausting.
    But hold what you learn very dearly, and tell the rest of us.

    You render honor to the human experience.

    Tim Kenney

  4. brad Says:

    I saw the CNN article about your project. Interesting concepts you and Josh are exploring as life in a tech-connected fishbowl. The experience of lack of personal, physical contact might be the most “useful” aspect, though most difficult for you.

    Just one more week.

  5. Melissa Says:

    I just spent 30 minutes reading the entire blog… I gotta say, I would probably go bonkers.
    But I like that you are doing this and it’s interesting to see how you are reacting to it all. I love my social media, and know that I rely on it entirely too much. But to go 30 days with out a hug from a friend would be rough. As humans we still need human interaction and touch. I am sure the 1st hug you get will be overwhelming to your senses.
    I am really digging the people who come by and leave you notes. And I adore the photos you are taking. What a great way to document your stay.

    good luck! and Congrats on making it this far!

  6. yacong Says:

    Hey Cristin,
    Hold on fast to it – in one week you’ll be able to celebrate Thanksgiving with your family and friends!! And I’m sure there will be lots of people who’ll be excited to hug you and celebrate for you the day you walk out of your glass house.
    I greatly admire your courage – the project you are doing are really inspiring for me!!
    Believe it or not, I get to know you and your project via Facebook – one of my friend post the link of CNN’s story of you on my facbook page, because he knows I am doing my thesis on social networking media, and one of the core question I want to ask is – Is New Technology and Social Networking Sites make our life more isolated or more connected?
    We are exploring the same question, and you don’t know how innovative you project is to another researcher like me 😉

    Well, one thing I do want to mention – when people meet each other our body exert certain chemicals, like Hormone, or just some fragrance. So by keeping yourself away from public via the glass walls, you lost touch with the chemical exchanges with other people – that might be a very important reason for loneliness feeling.
    So you are doing a really great job now – fighting against one of our genetically built human nature 😉

  7. Stephanie Says:

    This concept feels like Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity. Its special because it only works for a special case.

    In these circumstances, the understanding is that a population is addicted to social networking at the expense of direct human relationships.

    What seems much more likely is that there is a portion of the population that falls into that category, a portion that uses social media in moderation, and a portion that does not use social media at all.

    Technology evolves and if we are looking at a future where the entirety of the population is permanently plugged in to social media, you effectively demonstrate that humanity instinctively yearns for human contact.

    Technological evolution will be hard pressed to reprogram the human brain.

  8. Jay Says:



    Go Cristin!

    Your on CNN!

  9. Laura Flynn Says:

    Cristin, I am now up to speed on your daily updates. I am amazed at your discoveries and can feel a lot of what you are trying to tell us. I often think that the computer, while a useful tool, may be a tool to isolate individuals. As my boss told me, email, computers, etc. are for the users. Not really for the receivers. It is a way to pass on responsibility once the subject matter has been released. And at times it does create a sense of uncertainty not knowing a) if the recipient received the email; and b) did the recipient understand the message that was trying to be conveyed. So, that presents more uncertainty and therfore anxiety is created. So, not sure if all of the fads of internet, facebook, texting, Skyping, etc. is the only way to communicate. A good ole fashinoned visit from an unexpected friend is a true delight. I send you a big cyberhug and can’t wait to read the rest of your discoveries. Stay positive and connected….. Hugs and much love to you! Love, A friend in Texas Laura

  10. Viji Iyer Says:

    Thanks for having the courage to do this Cristin. This is really a fascinating study & so relevant to today’s times! Despite being a social media propent, Ive got to admit that we tend to at some point get so sucked up into our virtual lives that we often tend to ignore or sidetrack the actual lives and relationships we have in front of us! Find your study so in-tune to what I referred in my blog post on – Have we all started living in glasshouses? –

  11. Erin Says:

    Hello Cristin,
    I just started reading your blog yesterday and your entry really resonated with me. I was recently broken up with via a text message and have been searching for answers and closure ever since. I have been wondering about how technology is ruining our ability to communicate as human beings, particularly when things are difficult to say. It’s much easier to break someone’s heart over a text or phone call because you don’t have to deal with the emotions, hurt, or confusion from the other person. But being on the other side of that is devastating because there is no closure, so many questions are left unanswered and things unsaid. It’s like you said about fighting over Skype and texts, so much is lost in translation and in the fact that you cannot fully appreciate the other person’s body language, their intent, or interact with them fully over what was said. I hope that your project opens people’s eyes to the need for that human connection, especially when things get tough. And I hope that my generation and those younger than me will discover that using technology to hide behind difficult things doesn’t solve anything, in fact it often makes things much worse than they would be if people just had the courage to sit down with another human and talk about problems or hard things. Thank you for your powerful work and keep your head up because it’s almost over 🙂
    Take care!

  12. Cliff Feightner Says:

    It really all boils down to ‘Touch’ dosen’t it? Hey girl, this experiment is behind you. If you want help on your book, let me know. I’ll be interested to see what Josh does with Your Data.

    Hang in Cristin. You are nearly home free.
    Your friend Cliff Feightner

  13. Alaina Says:

    I found your observations on technology-based communication interesting. I’ve always considered modern means of communication (texting, IM, skype, email) to be a great benefit for long-distance interaction. Technology has broadened our horizons by enabling people to communicate easily across great distances.

    However, I also see how it creates a barrier during social interaction. The lack of a physical presence isolates us and affects how we communicate. The distance between people during technology-based communication allows a certain amount of anonymity and perhaps irresponsibility. Many people will say things via email, IM, or text that they wouldn’t say to someone’s face. Also, people feel free to put on whatever persona they want to portray. I think technology-based communication is a great benefit, but it lacks the accountability of face-to-face interaction.

    Thank you for sharing your experiences and discoveries with us.

  14. Wilfrid Wong Says:

    Hi there. I read your story in CNN. You experiment does seem a lot harder than it seems. I enjoy spending time with the Internet. But I probably have no clue what it would be like had I be in your position.

    In any case, thanks for sharing your experience with us. There are a lot to be learned from your story 🙂

    Just a few more days to go. Think about delayed pleasure!

  15. Ryan Says:

    Hi Cristin,

    I really like what you are doing as an art piece and I’m glad it is getting so much media attention. So many of my friends are hooked on social networking websites and it almost becomes difficult to interact with them because of it. Ironic. I recently left Facebook and I must say that it felt quite good to not worry about ‘friending’ people ever again.

    One thing I would say reading this most recent post is to try not to concentrate on how much time you have left. It is probably hard because you are trapped seeing part of the people you love every day on the other side of your glass walls. They are close and you know it, but you can’t quite reach them. All you can do is focus on your day to day activity though and not think ‘7 days left’ ‘6 days left’ etc.

    I lived overseas for almost three years without much contact with my family and friends, and I found the best way to deal with it mentally was to not think about how much time I had left, but rather the experience I was going through at the time. I never allowed myself to think about going home until about the day before I left because it was just too difficult and it made me resent my surroundings. In hindsight, I am glad I did this because I think my experience would have been much worse had I focused on those negative aspects.

    Hang in there and think about the attention you are drawing to your cause. Think about how many people’s perspectives you may have changed with this one little project. I hope you have a good day today!

  16. Maleah Says:

    When I was going through my divorce, I ended up without internet for nearly 6 months. I didn’t have a television and I wasn’t much of a txting person before. My cell phone and unlimited txts was pretty much my sole link to friends and the world.

    During the last presidential election, I had a friend that graciously volunteered to send me updates as the results came in. Otherwise I would have had to read it in the morning paper. Its funny how just a generation or two ago, getting news in the paper the next morning or listening for updates on the radio was a modern marvell.

    What I missed the most though was being touched. Pats on the back, hugs, high fives, ruffle of the hair… All of those little things I missed and craved. It made me more of a hugging type person and probably a better mom.

  17. Cham Says:

    Communication is but one of the skills that is suffering at the hands of technology, and since texts and emails can be misinterpreted proper communication is crucial. The question is, since we are communicating via the written word more and more will we eventually begin to improve or will technology continue to degrade our skills?

  18. doug Says:


  19. Cristin Says:

    @Yacong-I would like to hear more about your research. Email me
    @Viji Iyer-Love the blog.
    @Erin-Breakup overs texts. That’s tough. I hope you both get your closure.
    @Alaina-I couldn’t agree more.
    @Ryan-You are right. Now that the end is near, I am really trying to enjoy the last of this experience and focus on the day to day instead of the clock.
    @Maleah-I wonder if the same will happen to me when I am out of here.
    @Cham-I would really like to know the answer to that question.

Leave a Reply

Cristin Norine and Joshua Jay Elliott