Thursday, November 6, 2008

ode to the net

Been thinking a lot lately.

Not writing much, sad to say.

A few nights ago, one of my sons and I went to an open play rehearsal for a work-in-progress. It was... interesting.

One of the characters in the play, a woman in her forties, had apparently never heard of the internet. A male character was trying to explain it to her, and at one point, in a flirtatious voice, she said "Tell me more about this little internet of yours..."

"This little internet" is an amazing thing.

I've been online almost as long as there has been an online. My life has been entirely changed because of people I met online, in ways I never could have predicted.

I thought I might write a little about some of the ways the internet has become an integral part of my life.

1. I have the most incredible source of information at my disposal, nearly instantly. Google has changed the world. And Google Maps makes it visible.

2. I know people in countries I've never visited, and can talk to them, realtime, for free.

3. Facebook. I never thought I would join facebook, never. But I did, and to my great surprise, it has delivered exactly what it claims to do- it has connected me to the people I know. And impressively, to people I used to know. I have reconnected with people I had not seen in thirty years. Old high school friends. And maybe, the one that amazes me most- I found a brother and sister from Iran, who I knew in Peru in 1977, and had not communicated with since then. Maybe the best thing about this is how low key it is- I can see a status message and have some idea of what is going on in people's lives, with no obligation on either side to keep writing back and forth.

4. Communication, communication, communication. Whether it's a note to a friend, or exchanging files for work, maintaining a website for my fire company, or keeping in touch with a group of women I've known online for a dozen years, homeschoolers all over the country. We talk politics and religion, exchange recipes, congratulate new grandmothers, discuss health issues and our kids. I read blogs written by other EMTs, by college professors, and by a number of friends and students or former students. I can post training schedules, and proofread publications. I can send notes to my kids, reply to posts on freecycle and let my students know when a class is canceled.

5. Tying up loose ends, and closing circles. I have been able to find some folks to whom I owe apologies, and apologize. In some cases, many years late, but at least I've been able to do so. Without the internet, I doubt I ever would have been able to do this.

6. The world is my marketplace. Ebay, the world's largest garage sale, where, among other things, I have been able to purchase swords I would never have been able to find locally because they do not exist here. Craigslist. Ticketmaster for tickets to just about anything, anywhere. The Fire Store. Anything I need, and can't find locally, I can find online. And I can pay for it through PayPal.

7. Fun stuff. iTunes. Youtube. xkcd! The potential for entertainment is unlimited.

8. This blog. :-)

Anyone reading this is already well aware of the internet- or you couldn't be here.

My point is that I've been appreciating how much this has become integrated into my life. College students were born after the internet; they have no idea how much life has changed.

But I do. It is nothing short of amazing.


GreenJello said...

Oh, how I agree with you! My life is SO different. My insatiable thirst for knowledge has no limits, now. :)

It is strange to think that our children know of no other life. Instant information for the asking.

It is a Wonder of the World.

Lori Skoog said...

Hilinda....glad to see that you are back to writing. You are so right about all of it. Everyday I look forward to hearing from my new contacts around the world, where I have learned so much. Few of my friends are this involved, but I must say that my Journal has brought me great pleasure.

Anonymous said...

Hey -- Thanks for the shout out. I love the internet too.

Peter K.
The Fire Store

hilinda said...

You're welcome, Peter. Thank YOU for your excellent service!