The initial sobering thought is that you would not be reading this post if there were no internet. The thought of LWTI (Life Without The Internet) came to me in sort of a wave of experiences. The front edge of the wave led me to admit sometimes I use my smartphone and its connection to the Internet to avoid human contact. Yes, if I am restless at dinner or a Poker game, I take out my phone and check email or scan world headlines. Every time my phone vibrates I take it out, often interrupting an ongoing conversation. In short, I am addicted to the stimulation of the Internet.
What was life like before the Internet?
- Communication – There were F2F meetings, often requiring time- consuming travel to meetings. There were long distance phone calls. There was snail mail. In the 1960’s, I can remember patiently waiting in my college dormitory post office to find out if my family’s care package shipped 10 days ago had arrived today.
- Banking -Ah, the days of standing in line to make a deposit or to pay a vendor. It was licking a stamp on an envelope and mailing the bill to the provider of your services.
- Libraries – Walking to the library and hoping that the reference book you needed for your report was available and paying the library fines often.
- Movies – As a child, Saturday afternoons were special for my bother and me. I fondly remember going to a matinee where admission and popcorn for the both of us cost less than a dollar.
- Employment. There was no such thing as working online. You dressed for work. You commuted to work. More often than not you worked from 8-5 and commuted home.
- Television. For the first 18 years of my life there was one T.V. in the house. We watched together as a family and of course there was no streaming, Youtube or viewing on a tablet or smartphone.
Was life slower, better, more enjoyable before the Internet? For my grandchildren there are no comparisons. All of their lives they have experienced Email, Google, Facebook, iPhones and ordering from Amazon and receiving their products in the same day. They don’t know the meaning of film and typewriters.
Could we exist today without the Internet? Does the child growing up in the Internet age lack personal communication skills? Do we as adults keep our personal communication skills sharp?
In Part 2, I will discuss a need to return to some of the skills we had before the Internet.