I am not sure when this holiday started or if anyone really recognizes it, but happy world internet day. You are within the 1/2 of the people in the U.S. or the unknown number of people in the world that are able to access the internet. Congratulate yourself for that and for a good hair day.
We think that the internet is no big deal now, because most of us use it so ubiquitously and some of us make a living from it. Who would have though that was possible in the early 90′s? How did we ever live without it? I noticed that there are specific characteristics of internet people:
1. We don’t own phone books, address books or other written on paper type records. Some of us are not even getting paper bills anymore, and do all our record keeping online. What this means is that we aren’t record keeping at all really. We get easy access to the info when we need it but businesses hold our info, not us. And sometimes if you want your own information that is more than a few months old you have to pay them to access it. Ouch.
2. We don’t know how to read a map without step by step directions attached. Duh, pre mapquest we all just got lost all the time. Maps are hard to read, directions are easier, and GPS is great, but some day if that won’t be available (even for a short time) we won’t be able to leave the house.
3. We surf aimlessly for hours rather than socializing and it shows. We get less done even though we have tools to be more productive and the internet tests our ability to stay focused and on task and not to procrastinate. It’s just as much a time waster as a productivity and information tool. Hello Twitter.
4. We have generally no idea we are all being watched. Not by people or the CIA, but by companies and Google archiving every click and interest we explore. All in the name of targeting up for ads and studying human behavior online in order to build more profitable (more seductive) websites that sell more stuff. Hello Conversions.
5. We do have a greater view of the world outside our home towns but at the same time we only search for and look up information that justifies our own personal views. So, instead of getting closer together about ideas and community, we are actually getting farther apart. Writers know that you get more readers and page views if you write something polarized and sensationalized to the extreme and a lot of people (including the media themselves) do this. Then people who are living at that extreme feel justified. I am not sure where this goes, but somehow I doubt it will end well.
So, while we celebrate all the good that has come from the internet today, we should also probably do a reality check if we’re the ones celebrating such a niche holiday. It might be a good time to turn off the computer and just go for a walk outside and call your mom to say hi also.