Okay, it’s over-dramatized; it’s in my case just a short period in the form of a coast-to-coast flight without in-flight Internet, and the resulting information void. After overcoming the initial fear, the realization is clear – we are all part of the matrix, and are all utterly dependent and addicted.
Once we are disconnected, things change drastically. On a sudden I recall my grandmother’s fear years ago of an upcoming “Internet addicted” generation (which is likely transferable to the latest worries of the upcoming generation of iPad kids).
So what changed, and is it better? Here is my reality check checklist.
Instant advertisement, anytime
I recently tried to mail a letter, and I felt awkward not remembering what the required stamp value is, or why I needed to put anything in a physical letter in the first place. Meanwhile, the amount of unwanted advertisement in form of physical mail I receive every day triggers the uncomfortable feeling that we easily could save millions of trees by just stop sending junk mail fabricated from living wood. In parallel, Email, Facebook, Twitter, and other channels are trying to flood us with junk email, but thankfully we already invented the junk filter.
Online improvement rating: B (I definitely want an opt-out option for physical mail)
Media, most of the time
Blockbuster, place of social gathering on weekend nights, has closed down most of its media temples – no more late fees, no more need to stand in front of a closed entrance, just because you forgot the opening hours. All we need today is a connected TV, a computer, or a mobile device, and we are ready to get instant media gratification.
Online improvement rating: A+ (unless your secret dating location was the video rental store).
Clearly without the Internet, our world economy would instantly collapse. The amount of information transmitted within a company exploded digitally compared to the old fashioned physical phones, or the office mail. Yes, we are sometimes socially more isolated, but then again, there is Facebook.
Online improvement rating: A
Well-respected journalism has been around for a long time, but the digital revolution significantly increased the amount of noise. As example, a blogger can easily distribute not well-researched and even wrong information, with little to no personal impact. There is the danger of getting flooded or distribute not fully accurate information, and it’s important to select the right sources.
Online improvement rating: B (it’s trickier these days, you have to spend the proper time filtering)
The Internet made our life better, and so will early exposure to tablets help our kids to learn quicker, if used in the right way. But the right balance is important – for me personally this means to relax and enjoy my offline flight now.