In this day and age, I can’t imagine a world without computers or smartphones. It seems the more I upgrade the technology I use, the harder it is for me to go back to the way things were. Using broadband internet instead of dial-up for example. As soon as I experienced the speed of a Cable modem, I was willing to cough up the $50 a month to maintain it. Also, once I experienced the convenience of a wireless router, I immediately got rid of most of my ethernet cables.
But above all, I use my computer and smartphone for just about everything I do, everyday of my life. I use emails for correspondence instead of pen and paper. I read websites and use rss readers instead of looking at newspapers or magazines. I get most of my shopping needs or music from Amazon.com or Soap.com instead of going to actual brick and mortar stores. My smartphone helps to facilitate all of this when I’m on the go.
It would be quite a shock if all of a sudden computers and smartphones ceased to exist and it would take some time to adapt to lesser technological methods. Thankfully, such a scenario is close to impossible and I will continue to have access to my computer and smartphone, until some more advance form of technology comes about to replace them.
I recently saw this PBS Frontline Special called Digital Nation and was intrigued on the study of the internet on everyday life. It is true that most of us web 2.0ers are more engrossed with our smartphones and laptops and probably communicate less on a more personal basis. I also wasn’t completely surprised by the Stanford study on multi-tasking and how the results were that when people multi-task they are in fact less effective than when they take things head-on and one at a time. This makes sense to me because I have noticed that there were times when I tried to listen to a podcast and read an email or a website and realized that I wasn’t able to complete that feat.
Having my life becoming more intermingled with the internet is one of the reasons that I’ve decided to cancel my Facebook account. For some reason it has become a bit more oppressive toward me than a delight. I constantly felt like I had to make time to check on my news feeds, emails, etc. This of course took time away from more leisure or more important pursuits of mine. Not to mention that I’ve become more easily distracted and have an increased short-attention span than before. Of course, I still have my Twitter account up and running so I’m not completely disconnected from the digital world.
Frontline: Digital Nation is a great show on how the internet and other digital distractions have been changing our perspective on life and how it’s changing our brain patterns and how we think. I highly recommend it to everyone to watch and gauge how involved they’ve also become with this digital lifestyle.
I remember when the Internet first became more visual-friendly in ’95 and dial-up was pretty much the norm for most Internet users. Around this time, unless you had AOL or AIM, the only other way you could communicate with others on the Internet (if you had a t1 line) was through telnet and/or ICQ. Nowadays, in the world of broadband, there are so many different ways to communicate with people. Chat rooms and chat applications still exist but now you also have web 2.0 sites such as myspace, facebook and twitter to name a few. I have re-created log-ins on a few of them but the social network tool that seems to have gotten me the most captivated are forums, specifically the forum in the Keith and The Girl website.
According to wikipedia web forums have existed since 1996. Apparently I was oblivious to them until more recently. I guess I’m sort of old-fashioned when it comes to technology but I just feel that there is more camaraderie and interaction in a web forum then in myspace, twitter or facebook. In those other three I really only look for people that I know and just try and keep in touch with them; whereas, on a web forum I have a discussion of ideas, however trivial, with absolute strangers and develop new relationships from there. At least, those are my two cents. I’m sure there are others who disagree with my sentiments.