My job as a freelance writer is facilitated largely by internet access. I can write for clients all over the world and instantly deliver articles electronically. I can communicate with clients via email and online chat. To say that the internet makes my job a lot easier is an understatement. But as I write this post, I am made very aware of just how much the internet has taken over my life. It is not all bad, though.
I consider myself a techie. I get a kick out of tinkering with computers and smartphones. I love hacking software and customizing my devices. But as much as I love technology, a small part of me wonders if I rely on the internet too much. Is there room to disconnect? I am not sure.
Sometimes I think about rural Americans whose online activities are tempered by limited access to rural internet services. I wonder how so many of them survived before satellite and 4G rural internet. Companies like Blazing Hog are bringing rural internet to the masses, but what did the masses do when all they had was dial-up or DSL?
- A Long Time Ago
My introduction to the internet occurred a long time ago. It was the mid-1990s, when Windows 3.x was the only game in town. I was working on a rented computer back then because I couldn’t afford to purchase one of my own. My online activities revolved around logging on to local computer bulletin boards and joining forum discussions.
By the end of the decade, Online America was offering consumers the opportunity to move beyond bulletin boards to enjoy what we used to call the Worldwide Web. My first experience with the Web was essentially an epiphany. I suddenly realized the potential of this new technology to change the world.
I remember talking with my wife about the possibility of buying our own computer. I justified the proposition by saying it would help the kids with their schoolwork and make things like keeping track of family finances easier. My arguments eventually won her over. We took the plunge.
- We Now Exist Online
Fast forward some thirty years and my wife and I now have to admit we exist online. Both of our careers rely heavily on internet access. We both work from home as well, something that would not be possible if we could not get online. For us, broadband isn’t a convenience. It is an absolute necessity.
But like you, our reliance on the internet far exceeds work requirements. For instance, we cut the cable cord a long time ago. Our flat-screen TV is now little more than a large monitor to display the content streaming over a tiny black box affixed to the entertainment center. We do not own an OTA antenna, so there would be no TV shows to watch without the internet.
On weekends, we chat with the grandkids via videoconferencing software. They live hundreds of miles away. Without the internet, we would be reduced to writing letters and sending postcards back and forth. There is nothing wrong with those things, but the internet just makes for more convenient conversations.
I could go on and on. The point is that, like you, we have become comfortably accustomed to everything the internet has to offer. It has taken over our lives to a large degree. Would we rather go back to a pre-internet world? On some days, probably. On most days, definitely not. The internet has been good to us. Giving it up now wouldn’t make much sense.