This made me think back to the early days of the internet in the Ridder house, and that lovely static/piercing ring of the dial-up connection, taking your only phone line captive for as long as the internet user chose to peruse things like 'AOL' instant messenger, and this new site called 'google' that was occasionally used when I needed to cite at least one source from the internet for my high school research projects. (How annoying!?)
I also remember sitting on the ground next the family computer, waiting very impatiently for my sister to hurry up and end her conversations on AIM. Seriously, someone might be trying to call the house, or better yet, IT'S MY TURN. :) Love you, Sis.
I don't quite remember exactly when the internet exploded, and became this living, breathing, non-negotiable resource, communication method, or vital part of our society. It was probably at some point in college (2002-2005) for me, and then Facebook was opened up to my college during Junior year...and I believe I have probably been dialed-up, connected, plugged-in, every day since.
Between lightning speed emails, 'messenger' programs, blogs, social media, and search engines, I truly believe I am a smarter and more connected person. The pace of knowledge is set to 'instant gratification' as long as you have access to google, and the ability to be connected with people across ten, hundreds, and thousands of miles is just assumed. Why not skype with your friends in Minnesota or China, have a conference call that spans oceans and continents, or hire vendors in other countries?
Really, 'the world is flat' (and I keep meaning to read this book), for those of us who have technology at our fingertips. My werkplace is flat, because of my wi-fi connection and telephone. My relationships are global, because it's easy and a lot more interesting that way. So thank you, Al Gore, for inventing the internet...it's because of your genius that I can werk from the comfort of my home, neighborhood coffee shop, or wherever my smartphone takes me.
Paranoid disclaimer: on a personal level, it's really a beautiful thing to completely unplug on a regular basis. Stop staring at those screens, obsessively checking your email, and just give it a rest. I do secretly fear what the constant exposure to screens is doing to my eye sight, what sitting in a chair is doing to my spine and overall health, and what being exposed to 'wireless frequencies' is doing to my cells....while my 'ode to the internet' is largely positive in this blog post, it's mostly because it's a means to an end for this season of my life....but I know this lifestyle is not necessarily how my body was created to be used on a regular basis. hopefully some day I can strike a healthy balance!