I was flying out of Missouri the other day, looking out the airplane window at the flat, tree filled expanse below, and I thought, “Before I came here I never really knew much about Missouri.” Before I came to Missouri, I didn’t realize it would have huge limestone bluffs. I did not know that in the fall, the colors would be so beautiful. I did not understand that there were (smallish) mountains here. I did not realize that they grow almost as much corn and soybeans as Iowa. I was unaware that there are hiking trails and running trails and wineries. Wineries! I did not know any of that.
But you know that. Because I have posted photos and wrote things about many of these things. If I didn’t post anything, someone has. Somewhere on the internet you may have seen something about one or all of the above things.
The internet has been good in this aspect. It has broadened our horizons. It has made us realize what is out there, in the great big world. It has made what once was unknown more accessible. For this, I love the internet. I may have never known that I wanted to travel to Bhutan without the internet. I would not keep in touch with and go visit some of my friends who I have met while traveling. I would not know that there was such a thing as diving with great white sharks, hiking in the fjords of New Zealand, or eating rotten whale meat in Iceland.
I read a lot, so some of these things I may have found out through books, but I think the internet has opened us up to so much. I don’t have to buy a whole book about The World’s Largest Animals. I can just Google it and see what the top 5 are. I don’t need to buy a Glamor magazine full of ads when I can see in a glance what the latest fashions are.
However, sometimes I also think that the Internet has caused us to learn less. Why bother learning the capitols of the 50 states when you can just Wikipedia it? Why bother calling your Mom to ask her who starred in Kiss Me Kate, when you can IMDB it? How many riveting discussions have been cut short by a quick look at Google?
I still have mixed feelings about the internet. Sometimes I think that you don’t really need to know everything off hand and having Google can be a blessing. On the other hand, are we too reliant on the internet, so we are not bothering to remember anything anymore? Which of these things are important to learn yourself and which ones are okay to Google and forget?
Do you think that the internet has had a more positive or negative impact on society (or you personally)? In which way has the Internet helped you in your life? In which way has it made things worse?