I just finished the book Notes from the Internet Apocalypse. It is Gladstone’s journal following the internet apocalypse. Suddenly the internet disappears and he is trying to find it. It is an interesting read.
“Magic is a cliche, but what do you call it when you enter a place and you can pretend you’re anywhere and everywhere from the Mesozoic era to present day, provided you haven’t killed every bit of childhood wonder with cynicism? It is magic. The kind that exists.”
What would happen if the internet is gone? I wondered. I am from the generation that existed pre- cell phones and constant connectivity. But I am also from the generation that has become so accustomed to the ubiquity of the internet.
I wake up and call my mom and sister who live on a different continent using VOIP. I check my email and my social media accounts. I also make a living selling digital files on the internet using a skill which I coincidentally learned by watching online videos and visiting blogs. I watch my movies, buy my books and learn stuff. I even use it to stay connected with my husband even when I am not away because we share photos, music and random notes. I use it to monitor what I am eating (and what I shouldn’t be) and upload the data from my wearable tech to find out how much I am moving (or not) and then compare that to what I should be. I listen to podcasts about topics I find interesting, that I might not otherwise have access to.
My daughter is 6 and she already knows that if she asks me a question and I don’t know the answer, we can Google it. She knows that she can stream her favorite cartoons on demand or read books on it. She sometimes even video chats with her grandmother and aunt all by herself.
But the question continues to pester me, what if it is all gone?
I wouldn’t be able to call my family. Would I resort to calling cards? Would we go back to writing letters? I wouldn’t mind writing letters, but with the current state of local post, I would probably be luckier to send homing pigeons. I know I would read more books. I remember when I would go through a couple of books a week. I still read a book a week, but I am sure that I would have more reading time if I didn’t get sucked into watching YouTube videos of people walking on water or doing strange magic tricks.
I would watch movies on TV when they aired or rent DVDs. I would listen to music when it played on the radio or buy CDs. I don’t mind these things, as a matter of fact, I might even enjoy the slowness of life. Everything is on demand now. Just think of a type of media and you can instantly devour it. I haven’t read a paper in years, I get my news from the internet.
I might even enjoy my bubble, not being bombarded every 10 seconds with sad and horrific news from around the globe, either from events that happen to people I know or people I do know who are scattered around the world.
But then the thing I would miss the most is people. I am an expat. I almost have no friends where I live. I stay connected with friends using technology and to be denied that privilege would be sad. Or maybe it would force me to go out and actually make friends. Even the friends I made here were found on the internet. I complained once about the lack of friends on twitter once, so a twitter friend who lives in the UK, connected me with her friend here. A friendship that grew and brought more friends with it.
I am sure we all suffer from information overload, all the time.
“There has not been a piece of technology designed to save labor that has not increased labor. Word processors allow you to do what your secretary used to do for you. The Internet, BlackBerries, iPhones, yes they keep you tethered, but that’s not the main problem. It’s that along with increasing personal productivity, they increase the expectation of productivity. It no longer becomes a bonus to do the work of one and a half men, but the norm. And then when everyone’s working at one hundred and fifty percent capacity, they can fire a third of the workforce and still maintain output.”
And then there is this quote. So much more is expected of us, of our children and of society. We no longer think that normal productivity is ok, we have to be overachievers. Children aren’t left to grow in their own time and speed, they are constantly being compared with everyone else on the planet. And when it comes to society we are expected to relate to everyone else, have a stance on everything and try to change the world. When people try to live in their bubble now, they are mocked, ridiculed and called self centered. The need for self preservation is higher than ever before.
I understand that it is a great tool. It has opened the largest gateway or portal for mankind to more information than we know what to do with.
The future will probably be even more connected than the present, but I guess there is no harm in going completely offline every once in a while to be ready for the apocalypse (just in case).