11.01.2011

The World. The Wide. The Web.

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?

10 comments:

  1. it contains everything from every library ever in the world. and google has indexed it all. Next they will catalog our dreams or something! freaky. I get it.

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  2. Of course I love having everything available instantly, but there are so many drawbacks. I read somewhere that we don't remember things for as long-in part because we know we can always look it up later.

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  3. I see both sides as well - but I do love it when my boys come to me with a question out of the blue and I have no idea the answer - we learn so much that way. Like everything in life there is good and bad - so moderation is a good thing!!!!! I just started following your blog (not sure how I happened upon it) but I love the photography info - a friend and I just started working together to improve our photos - and your info is great to follow.

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  4. I love so many things about the internet. I love that there is so much information out there, and so many new ways to meet new friends.

    But I agree that it's been a detriment to our social interaction in a more face-to-face way.

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  5. Thought-provoking post.

    I must say, I really like being able to find the answers to my questions so easily online.

    I don't think I remember less. I used to search encycolpedias and other reference books for information, now I just use the internet more.

    I still retain what I would have with the other tools.

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  6. Thought provoking post! I love the internet because it has led me to meet fabulous friends (like you) and it makes my job a whole lot easier. But with the internet come things like facebook - which was great, but which have sort of replaced things like handwritten letters or birthday cards or phone calls to friends. It's encouraged bad behavior like breaking up with someone over email v. calling or meeting them in person. it's a double edged sword - I guess we have to take the bad with the good, though. Great post, lady!

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  7. Internet a veritable treasury of info.

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  8. Great point. While the internet can teach and bring ideas to so many people around the world, it can also hinder us. Nothing is original anymore, nothing is surprising because we have all 'seen it before'.

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  9. Interesting post!

    I think we do rely more on the Internet to give us answers, but I wonder if it causes us to also question things more, to figure out why things are the way they are or who starred in what movie... Before, we may have just brushed it off because there was no way to know the answer without going through tons of different avenues. Plus, I now challenge myself to try to remember something without having to look it up. :)

    The Internet has brought about more positives than negatives, I think. But the negatives can be pretty bad so I guess it's all about finding a balance.

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  10. I agree with you. The internet has its pros and cons. I do so much research online before I travel somewhere, but I still have to buy a guidebook because they are more convenient when you get there, but also I am addicted to books. I don't think I will ever be able to pass up books or mags in favor of the net. I do have to admit though, I have had many conversations cut short by googling whatever it is we were trying to figure out, and calling it a day. It is so nice to have the net at our finger tips, but we really need to learn how to be way less dependant on it.

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Thanks for commenting! Any suggestions, tips or praise you have is always welcome!