Why The Internet is So Savvy!
Are You REALLY Internet Savvy?
The advent of the internet meant many things. Certainly it meant a shrinking world. People from the far corners of the earth could suddenly become your BFF in a chatroom.
It meant the ability to shop anytime. You dont need to get dressed or fight the crowds or flip someone off because they took the parking spot youve been eyeing while circling the parking lot like a hawk. It means if you want to go Christmas shopping at 3 am with your jammies on and raccoon mascara smudges around your eyes and face cream slathered on your face, you can. It means being able to do great comparison shopping in the comfort of your own home without having to drive to and from several stores.
I absolutely LOVE to shop online! Even if I dont buy, I love to “window shop”. I can peruse websites for shoes and handbags and clothing that I know I could never afford, but its so easy to dream on the internet. I love that there are places on the 'net' where I can get good quality, gently used items for next to nothing.
I love the ease of paying bills online and not having to write checks and buy stamps and go to the post office. With a few, short keystrokes, I can set up payments for the entire month in much less time than driving to the post office to buy stamps.
The internet opened up a whole world of old music that I had all but forgotten from my youth. Songs could be downloaded and played incessantly until you wondered why the hell you EVER thought you liked that song to begin with. I love that I can literally find any song, any time of day or night, download it and then have it ready to listen to in my car or anywhere for that matter.
Its a heady feeling to be able to have a music library of your best loved songs spanning decades of not only your own life, but your parents lives as well.
The internet also meant the information highway suddenly became instant. No longer do you have to go to the library to take out a book on any given subject. No longer do you have to jump up from your desk and run to the bookshelf to check the spelling of a word. If we didnt like reading them before, we no longer have to read newspapers. With the simple push of a button VOILA! depending on your choice of homepage, you have all the top stories laid out, right in front of you, easy to read, no ink on your fingers and you can do it without the paper boy throwing a paper against your door at 5 am and waking you up.
The internet has its own, special vernacular. Words are shortened into acronyms in order to get a point across quicker. I sometimes find it annoying to read some of these acronyms. But I shrug that off as my just being an old lady. But, still, there is something really nice about reading a comment from someone who has obviously taken the time to use "real" words instead of cutesy cliche's......LOL!
We can check the weather report with ease, and get directions to and from almost any destination before we even leave our houses. We can watch television programs we might have missed, old movies we havent seen in years and we can You Tube ourselves into oblivion if we want to.
Even if we arent tech savvy, most of us can navigate through a variety of fun and definitely addicting games. Some as time-honored and simple as Solitaire, others requiring deftness and eye-hand coordination I havent had since I was in my 20s!
There are so many good things about the internet that I wonder if there is anything bad about it.
Surely the obvious answers would be measured by the amount of time our children spend on computers. I even know adults (myself included) who could readily admit that once mastered, the internet opened up a variety of addictive pleasures some of which caused way too many late nights.
The darker side of our society (as always) has also found what may be perecived as a safe haven for pedophiles and sex offenders. Vigilant parents need to exercise obvious caution in the sites they allow their children to visit, but even adults need to use good, sound judgement in making sure that before trust is extended, safety and sensibility prevails.
There are reasons for vigilance when it comes to how much of ourselves we allow “out there”, and it only takes one time for your credit card numbers to be used by someone else, for you to realize that if you werent careful before, you need to be now.
But even considering the sinister side of the “net”, to me, there is so much more positive than negative that it has to offer.
What amazes me is the incredible influence the internet has had on our political arena.
Facebook, alone, has impacted even presidential elections. Where else can the average person, air their opinions, become a pundit, and do it all without worry about being censored?
Love them or leave them and lets face it...most of us would prefer leaving them...politicians have the power, through Facebook, to literally reach millions of people AND influence their thoughts with a few, simple lines. Any politican can do this and get viewpoints across that can literally sway the voting public.
Politicians on either side of the fence have used the internet and especially, Facebook, in order to have a chance to really explain themselves and their platforms in a way that can reach the majority of their constituencies. During recent elections I scoured the internet for information on the candidates I was most interested in and came away knowing exactly who I was voting for and more importantly, why.
What I absolutely love though is the interchange between everyday people like you and me. I love that, on any given topic, I can say what I think, have someone offer me a debate on the subject and then open up a lively discussion among hundreds of people!
I can ask for advice from friends on Facebook on almost anything and be guaranteed good, sound answers. If I have a medical concern, I can get easy, up to date medical opinions and advice from several sources and even tho that isnt the answer to actually seeing a doctor in person, its an amazing tool to be able to lookup what to do IF there is a medical emergency..or what to do for an earache or a toothache or any number of minor ailments.
Once it was television which took up our evenings and now for many of us, its the internet. We are free to pick and choose where we spend an hour or two, we pay no admission fee and we can leave and come back without having a rubber stamp on our hands. I love being able to look up recipes or find a certain nail color simply by pressing a few buttons.
We share photos of our families, our dogs, our gardens, even our dinners! (I confess to loving to share my culinary masterpieces with my Facebook friends!) We visit Facebook pages devoted entirely to the city or neighborhoods we grew up in and find old friends that we havent seen in ages.
I love the kinship, the camaraderie and the sharing of feelings and emotions. I like having "friends" who dont expect more from me than I am able or willing to give. I also sometimes like my anonymity. It affords me the ability to walk away when I want to or need to.
I am simply blown away by the power of the written word when it is so easily obtained. In blogs all across the Internet, ordinary people from all walks of life, have their say. Many of them, I dont agree with, just as they wont agree with me, but thats the beauty of it all. Reading an intelligent, well thought out comment or two from someone who clearly has done some research, has the power to educate me and possibly even change my mind. At the very least, its good to be aware of what the other side is thinking, whatever that other side happens to be.
I am touched by the words of so many other women. Wives, mothers, grandmothers...all of whom I have something in common with and their stories are also my stories and I marvel at how many of us share the same emotions and feelings. Age is a non-issue on the internet. Those boundaries are erased because we are all on the same playing field on the internet. I also love the fact that Ive gotten to see a side of many men that I might never see in person simply because with the veil of a monitor in front of you, most men feel freer to air their opinions and viewpoints on things that they might never do in real life.
We arent judged, first, by our faces or our bodies or our hair or any of the other trivial things that so many of us use to decide friendships. We begin sizing up a person from the words they write. Words that are sometimes just humorous and other times sad and almost painful to read. But they are, nevertheless, words from the heart of someone and so they are the essence of a person. We can tell so much about someone simply by reading the words they type.
The internet connects people in a way that would regularly take months, maybe even years to develop. And in doing so, we begin getting to know people quickly. We hear about their triumphs and success stories. The kids got all A's on their report cards. The husband got a promotion and a raise. The house we put an offer in on is now ours. We just bought a new car. We are going on a cruise! My garden is beautiful and Ill share a picture of it for you.
And we hear and therefore share, in the sad times. Someone's dog or cat died. A job offer fell thru. A new roof is needed. And then there are the really hard things to read about. A husband just left a young wife and 2 sons. A mother is in the hospital and probably wont make it. Depression took hold and alcohol was turned to for someone who has been fighting to stay sober.
We become counselors when asked for advice and if we arent comfortable with that, at the very least we are good listeners and we offer support, encouragement, compliments, pats on the back, condolences and even if all we can manage at any given time is just a “like” it means we read and we were there and we heard what they had to say and we CARE!
I am many things at my now age. A wife, mother and grandmother. Ive been a hard working employee. A good and trusted friend and a loving relative. I am also a much better person for having taken that first step so many years ago and touched a button which opened up a world I had previously only seen in books and television and movies.
Arent you better for it too?