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What would life be like?

This is a completely honest question, because heck if I know. What would life be like without the internet?

I use the internet EVERY DAY. For work, for recreation, for keeping in touch with friends and family, for research. I'm not the only one. There are other people using the internet EVERY DAY for similar things and for things that I probably haven't even thought of yet. Even people who don't use the internet EVERY DAY are effected by it. For example, my sister, who is a self-proclaimed computer-illiterate uses AIM to keep in touch with her friends, e-mail for her school work, puts pictures on her facebook (with a bit of guidance), and does various other tasks using the internet.

I sat down at my computer a few weeks ago when our wireless internet connection was not working properly. I sat staring at my desktop trying to think of something to do that didn't involve the internet. My favourite games are on websites or multi-players that connect to the internet. Couldn't check my e-mail or IM my friends without the internet. I couldn't even look at the pictures that my friends recently uploaded to flikr. What is going on? It used to be that having a computer was the important thing. If you didn't have computer you were missing out on SOMETHING. You couldn't use spreadsheets or type your homework (I did all of my papers until 9th grade on my Dad's 1960's typewriter). You couldn't play Keen or Doom or solitaire (okay, you could play solitaire if you had a deck of cards). But all of these things are no longer the reason for having a computer. The reason to have a computer is to connect to the INTERNET!

Lately, it seems like everything revolves around the internet. The the red paperclip guy probably would have never reached his goal of trading up from a single red paperclip to a house without the publicity that his blog gave him. People wouldn't have been intrigued by the 39 dollar experiment guy who sent 100 letters to a 100 companies asking for free stuff(TM). This case of mistaken-cyber-identity would have never happened -- and people across the globe wouldn't be able to connect in the way that they do now. Knowledge and information would not be shared so easily. AOL Representatives wouldn't be fired so quickly over harassing a customer who was trying to cancel their service if that very conversation wasn't posted online for the world to listen to.

The internet is now a social hub. It's a gigantic repository of knowledge. It's an advertisers dream and a marketers nightmare. It's a network of people that includes people from every age group, every culture, every country, every part of the globe. For every newbie on internet, the world seems to shrink just a little bit more. And the possibilities are increasing.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 5th, 2006 02:02 pm (UTC)
lol. Ironically, I don't think anyone who can actually answer your question will be reading this. :-p
Aug. 5th, 2006 02:41 pm (UTC)
If I didn't have the internet, I probably wouldn't be staying a second year in Japan.

The internet keeps me sane.

I am also lousy about keeping in touch, so it keeps me in touch with people. And up to date on my favorite programs. =)
Aug. 5th, 2006 03:11 pm (UTC)
I would be watching a LOT more TV.

And honestly? I would have a lot less friends.
Aug. 5th, 2006 03:29 pm (UTC)
I see the internet as the savior for a world that had become obsessed with the television... at least with the internet we are using our minds and filling them with hopefully more meaningful things.

Then again, some people would argue that fewer people died from continuously watching TV than from online games :0P
Aug. 5th, 2006 07:46 pm (UTC)
That's an interesting point. I used to be that when I was bored I'd sit in front of a TV and vegetate. Now I spend my time reading instead, and I'm a lot better off for it.
Aug. 5th, 2006 07:44 pm (UTC)
When I first moved to Maine I spent a week or so without internet access. The biggest problem for me was not being able to look up directions and phone numbers. Without Google Maps I had no idea where I was, what was nearby, or how to get to any of it. If the mall hadn't been right down the road I don't know what I would have done.

I didn't know anyone in the neighborhood, so I could only talk to my friends over the phone. Few people like having long phone conversations, especially with time-limited cell phone plans, so I was lucky to get half an hour a day of contact. No random emails or LJ posts. No "oh, so and so would think that was funny, I'll send it to them". Nothing.

Sometimes I would find myself wondering what was going on in the news, or how something worked, or what the history of some event was -- Wikipedia-type stuff. I didn't know where a library was, so I had no way of getting answers to my questions. Knowledge by proxy is no substitute for a deep personal understanding, but at least with the internet the knowledge is there somewhere! If I have to sew a button on my pants or put new strings on a guitar or do any number of other unusual (for me) tasks, I'm almost completely helpless without Google.

I couldn't buy anything online. No easy access to cheap used books, no decent prices for computer hardware, no rare items. I was limited to what was in the major chain stores I had access to. This week I bought two engineering textbooks for a bit over $50. What would I have done without the net? Tried to find a college bookstore and bought them for four times that price?

The only way I could have anything like my current standard of living without the internet would be by living in a place I know very well with lots of specialty shops nearby and a giant public library right next door.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )



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