Saturday, March 14, 2009

How the Internet Ate my Brain

(Unfortunately, this product is no longer available or I would have bought it.)

Used to be, I would go to the dictionary to look up a word. Now I use Google.

If I wanted information, I had two sets of encyclopedia, a bookshelf full of reference books. Ditto on going to Google.

Used to be, I would look up a recipe to find how to use up leftovers or cook whatever. Now I can find more recipes on the web than I need. With any number of variations of one dish.

Used to be, I would turn on my disc player or the radio to hear my favorite music, now I listen on my iPod, my computer, and I'm looking for an iPod-playing radio to hear NPR. (Although I have iPod-ed my favorites programs already.)

Used to be, I would go to the library or a bookstore (I still do, thank God.) to find a book to read. Now I order from the web, have days of books loaded into my iPod. So I save my eyes from reading in bed with dim light. (My hearing will go next.)

Used to be, I would take slides of my work, package up the cartridge, mail it and wait, get them back, check them in a viewer, label and file them in notebook pages. Now I have 3000 jpegs slowing down my computer speed, waiting to be off-loaded onto discs. But I can call them up, export them, copy them, move them around, index them, look at them on a whim.

Used to be, I would write letters to friends or call them occasionally. Now I don't write except at Christmas. But now, along with old friends, I have new friends all of which I will never meet, more than likely, but what friends they are! I've 'known' them for about, oh, maybe 12-15 years. Some I have met in the flesh, but most are cyber friends from discussion groups. And in many ways, I prefer it that way.

They are purely cerebral friendships. Just minds talking to minds. The only thing I miss about discussion group friends is not getting the little nuances of tone of voice, subtle facial expressions and body language--those things in real conversations that give you more meaningful clues. The cyber frriends I have actually met and talked to in real time, however, I feel I understand more fully when I read their emails.

What I like about the email arrangement is that I don't have to answer right away like a conversation in real time. I have more time to think about it before I shoot off my mouth. (Although I AM rather fast at a smart-ass answer, I have to say.)

There's a manegable time-lag. I can send or receive email at my convenience. So when I'm on chasing a clay inspiration, on a cooking jag, want to finish the last part of a book or have declared a cleaning jihad, I can expect to get at it or to luxuriate in unbroken time with no interruptions until I'm ready to be civil again.

(One of the horrors of my many and varied jobs was always the phone. THE PHONE! insistent, unrelenting, and usually the source of another problem on the other end that had to be taken care of RIGHT NOW.......There were days when I considered the knee-hole section of my desk a very inviting location.)

I have an antique Nokia 3588i that I rarely turn on. In my mind, it's for calling OUT only. Like, in an emergency. Like a flat tire. No gas. Forgot my purse. Forgot my shopping list. Things like that.

Besides, I have G-mail/cell phone account.

Call and leave me a message.

I'll get back to you.


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