Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Internet...

I recently turned 38 years old.  It seems like time has really flown.  Doesn't seem like that long ago that I was a child.  And yet I'm starting to look at my childhood as the "old days".  Indeed, a lot has changed, even over the past ten years.  The Internet has a lot to do with the massive changes in my lifestyle.

Back in the 1970s, when I was a small child, people enjoyed a lot of privacy that they don't seem to have anymore.  One could go to the grocery store and buy food without using a loyalty card to get a discount.  Granted, you can do that now... and some grocery stores don't actually have a loyalty program.  But it seems like a lot more of them do and they use those cards to track what you're buying so they can target advertising to you.  It's the same thing when you surf the web.  Pretty soon, you start to notice that certain sites start to pop up in advertising.  They know you've been on their site and they want you to come back and spend money.

Back in the 1980s, it didn't seem like the phone didn't ring unless it was from someone I knew or someone who had legitimate business with me or my family.  Now, every day I get phone calls from autodialers, despite the fact that I am on the DoNotCall list... a form I filled out online in order to get these idiots to leave me alone.  I don't usually answer phone calls from people whose phone numbers I don't recognize or come up "unavailable".  So calling me is not only annoying and intrusive and unlikely to get me to spend money, it's also pointless.

Nowadays, instead of going outside and talking to my neighbors, I sit online and talk to people from around the world.  I even found my husband in that manner.  I can remember sitting in a sociology class when I was in high school... in the days before the Internet, of course.  The teacher told us that we would likely marry someone who lived within 50 miles of us.  And yet, I married a man who, when I met him, was living in the central time zone while I was on the east coast.  I spend most of my time alone, except for my two dogs... and yet I don't really feel so alone because there are always people on the Internet.

I don't even need a TV anymore.  I can sit and watch programming to my heart's content on the Internet.  Televisions are becoming obsolete.  Pretty soon, televisions that offer live programming might be relegated to computer monitor status.  They're just there to show whatever can be beamed over the Internet.

I even find myself getting involved in other peoples' problems because of the Internet.  Read someone's blog or participate on a messageboard and see how fast you start to form opinions about other people and their issues...  It's amazing.

But the Internet is here to stay.  And before I die, I'm sure it will be even bigger than it is now.  There will come a day when I look at today as "the old days".     

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