I personally took pride in being somewhat computer/tech-savvy in my early youth, but that has since then changed. I’m definitely more capable at connecting devices together, programming some code, and working around minor technical computer problems than most of my family, but just as our parents’ generation are supposedeley technologically inept, if our technology continues to develop at its current rate, I fear that I will eventually drown in the continuous massive wave of innovations that swarm the market every year. That said, I don’t really want to talk about Apple coming out with a new iPad of iTouch, or Google continuously eating every single company idea that ever existed, but rather discuss one of the world-changing creations of recent centuries and our dependence on it: the inter-web, or internet.
The growth rate of the internet exceeds that of any previous technology. Measured by users and bandwidth, Internet has been growing at a rapid rate since its conception (with more than 5% year-over-year), on a curve geometric and sometimes exponential. Today, the Internet is growing in three different directions — size, processing power, and software sophistication — making it one of the fastest evolving technology mankind has ever made. However, inventions that are usually created as a productivity tool often end up being used for other uses.
Despite the connectivity the internet provides the world and the wealth of information that can be shared, a large number of those who use the internet use it mainly for social purposes. Though this is not bad, recent young generations have grown up with internet as a normal standard and thus, our generations are growing more and more dependent on the internet. I remember how cellphones were of monstrous size in the 1990’s and their incapability to work mild distances from their base charger. My parents never got me a cellphone until I reached high school. It was never meant to be used to call friends for friendly chit chat (I could do that at school or on the bus), but rather was a device to be used in case of emergencies. Similarly, the house internet was only available for reading homework assignments or printing word documents. I will admit, I squeezed in some secret periods of anime marathoning and StarCraft sessions in between, but no harm done, right? I am definitely a teenager who has used the computer and internet as a means of doing everything, which was easily recognizable when I suddenly felt uncomfortable when I moved into a house with no ethernet port in the room.
Living in the third floor of the house, I was dismayed when I discovered that the internet hub was located in the basement, a full three floors down. Having only 2 15-ft cables in hand, I had to forego any internet on my main desktop for a two week period. I will admit, it was definitely a pleasant and refreshing experience, being forced to go to the library to study for several hours straight. There’s a certain clear-mindedness when the inter-web is taken out of the picture. No longer can you conveniently run home and chat someone about a homework assignment, or randomly ask a friend to play a game of DrawMyThing on omgpop.com or play StarCraft. Consequently, the internet has become a social medium and integral part of our lives, despite how our parents may still see it as recent invention. I know I’ve had my parents complain to me about how much time I waste on the internet, and though I don’t like being criticized, it’s is definitely true. Often time, self-control is the only thing that can help you maintain a sufficient balance of work and play.
So, to just wrap up the post, since it ended up being longer than I anticipated, there is a common habit that I think many of people share, which is the immediate urge to boot up a computer the moment one wakes up or returns home from a long day at work. I know I’m guilty of this, and whether that’s a good habit or bad one is hard to say…but…
The seven websites I immediately open once I wake my computer include:
Once in a blue moon do I visit CNN.com or NBC. It pains me to know that I don’t hold any particular interest to stay abreast of current events (a vice both my parents and friends have pointed out to me). Perhaps I’ll add them as #8 and push myself to read more online articles. I thoroughly enjoyed an article from the Wall Street Journal that EFuzzy forwarded to me and hope that, perhaps, by reading more (in contrast to visiting StarCraft, anime, and movie websites) I’ll improve my writing and become more well-read.