Tuesday, October 30, 2007

How has the internet changed your personal life? This article made me think much about the impact internet access has on the way we communicate with one another -- as individuals and as communities. As much as I think it's really wonderful that we can keep in touch and keep ourselves occupied through/with blogs like this one, email and chat, and various other online tools/resources, I think there are also important things we've lost along the way. Does that make me old fashioned? Maybe...


Jake said...

I have to agree with you, Pam, that we've lost something along the way. But I'm not sure that it's the internet to blame, really. Speaking for myself, before the internet I simply wasn't in touch with many people. I'd trade letters with my cousine, talk on the phone with a few other friends, but in general, my circle was both much more local and much smaller. Now, however, dashing off an email or chatting with far-flung friends demands less of an effort, and with facebook, seeing some degree of updates is a completely passive activity.

But there's so much more at play than just the technology. I think our relationships generally became more shallow long before cell phones and email. We had already stopped just sitting with our friends and talking, or engaging in regular social conversation. Movies and other "things to do" became major social activities, and music got louder and became more of the focus of attention. The industrial revolution forever changed our work habits, and our communites have never been the same.

With all that said, I've become closer to my grandmother with email than I ever could before. I can share more personal thoughts and feelings online than I can in person a lot of the time. Certainly, that says more about me than about the medium, but it's a part of the picture.

Pamela said...

Yeah. The internet has *totally* changed the way I communicate with people in good and bad ways. I *love* the fact that I'm able to keep in touch with friends all over the country. It was *never* that easy 10-15 years ago. In fact, I still have letters - snail mail letters - that friends (including JOSH!) wrote me over the summer during college. It's so funny to think that that was the most logical way to communicate back then. I *loved* getting those letters and consider myself lucky that some of my friends still write me via us postal despite the ease and convenience of the internet.

Regarding Jake's comment about changes in our social lives even before the internet, I have to say I'm sure that electricity -- and the radio, recorded music, and then the TV -- were big factors in changing the way we live. Funny to think that the PIANO used to be the center of activity in the living room -- that people used to have to work to entertain each other. I love to make music with friends, play the piano just for fun, play board games, and participate in outdoor activities in addition to playing around with my computer. But sometimes I get sucked into the thing and have to remind myself that it *would* be fun to tear myself away from it. :-)