Friday, 19 October 2012

The internet made 'the good old days' better.

Speaking to some members of the older generation, there seems to be a depreciation for advances made in the realm of the world wide web. Many people long for the days before technology reigned, where there was a lot more face to face contact and the world perhaps, spun a little slower on it's axis.

I think it's time people gave the internet the credit it deserves. While we might not send stamped letters by means of communication, we're now in a position, through programmes such as Skype and social media such as Facebook and Twitter, to keep in touch with people we would easily have lost contact with, particularly those who live far away. I personally feel satisfied, as many other students probably to, on that count as I get to keep in touch with my friends that have moved away,  Another great factor is that these programmes and networks are completely free, thus avoiding horrendous phone bills.

The amount of information stored on the internet, while some of it is dangerous, allows people who are looking for certain things to have exactly the same access. Unless there is parental control, there isn't a barrier or definition between who is allowed to see what. In terms of educational information, I think it's fabulous. You can learn about things you never knew existed, be informed about things that are being taught at university through online pfs etc and the internet doesn't give a damn about your background.

Finally, the internet gives people a chance to say what they want, when they want. I'm a personal fan of blogging and reading other people's blog. There is always someone you can relate to, someone who shares the same interests, or even when they share different opinions, they can fuel your own. Having this freedom of expression helps develop people who are both creating blogs and reading thing.

So yeah, this is just me expressing my love for the internet and the seemingly endless realm of innovation it's been bringing in the last few years.


  1. It's a really interesting point you made, there, about the internet not caring about your background, and giving you access to the same resources - up to a point.

    While we currently have a "neutral" Web, almost everyone has the same access to the same resources (theoretically), limited only by the person themselves, it might not necessarily stay that way, though we've had a bit of a golden age thus far.

    Recently, though, there's been quite a shift towards open censorship of the internet in many different countries. While most of that is naturally against piracy, or is part of an ongoing and amazing effort against the exploitation of people on the internet, you also have movements such as David Cameron's proposal for an opt-out internet filter set up by ISPs for all of their customers, or the forces at work behind what the "Net Neutrality" programme, who have suggested a tiered system of internet access depending on how much you are willing to pay for your internet service.

    Sorry, this is probably quite a bit off-topic - but your point about the fact that, essentially, all people on the internet are equal, got me thinking. While that might be true now, it doesn't mean it necessarily will. A lot of the so-called "older generation" inclined to complain about modern technology are, perhaps, just preceding those who would want to take advantage of modern technology to its fullest, but without the love of technology that drives companies like Google, or software development like Skype.

  2. I agree with you that the internet is a useful tool for educational purposes, but in regards to communication, I have to admit I'm a bit of an old fogie. Yes, Facebook/Twitter or whatever else you might be using are wonderful for staying connected, but how many people do you really need to stay connected to? Dunbar's number predicts that humans can only manage to keep in touch with a network of about 150, but personally I can think of only a handful of people that I actually talk to from back home, and most of the time I'll ring them, text them or just write them a letter.

    People always think of the internet as being free, but it's actually not. When you take into consideration line rental, broadband contracts, the cost of the computer/mobile to connect up and the power it takes to run the device, the whole things pretty expensive. We may as well be writing to each other with a pen and paper. Would it be instant? No, but responses would be the cause for excitment, they would be cherished and passed round. Not like this comment that will be skimmed through and then "marked as read."

    I'm not saying that the internet isn't an amazing invention. It has connected us and educated us in ways we couldn't have dreamed of 50 years ago. I just think we rely to heavily on it.

  3. It's not just the internet or the web that the 'older generation' (I wonder who you have in mind?) deprecate. Recently, the writer Philip Hensher published a book celebrating the declining art of handwriting. He contributed a Guardian article on the subject a couple of weeks ago. Do you think he has a point? Is there a place for handwriting in an age dominated by electronic text?

    Philip Hensher, 'Why Handwriting Matters', Guardian, 7 October 2012. Available here.

  4. I feel that your make point of referring to Dunbar's study in that we only stay connected to a handful of people can be contested. While that network of 150 people may be true of personal and close relations, I feel that the internet has allowed us to both create and maintain a volume of contacts and acquaintances, quickly and efficiently which have the potential- whether seen or unseen, to open up fantastic opportunities, (especially career-wise) that one would not otherwise have if we just stuck to letter-writing and telephone calls.

    I fully agree with you when you say that perhaps responses would be the cause for excitement, cherished and passed around, but what is to say that is not the case on a comment or notification on Facebook? I for one must say I love the feeling of finding out who and what have produced the little number in the red box at the top left hand corner of the screen. While one might not get the satisfaction of holding a letter between your hands, one can argue that the same amount of love and care, (just a little less effort) has gone into that comment or invitation that pops up on your screen. I feel that the end result is the same, but the process of getting there is just a lot quicker and a lot more efficient!

    I'm not discounting the satisfaction of receiving a letter in the post, but I do feel that the Internet has been developed to suit the needs of this generation, allowing the evolution of both personal and professional spheres.


    1. I also agree with you that the internet's communicational prospects and abilities are unstoppable. However, even though you can communicate and find people in a way which was never possible before on Facebook and twitter, there are always negatives that come with social media.
      Such as the idea of providing too much information has resulted in the loss of jobs and the tarnishing of reputations through either pictures or words which publicly can cause havoc. Which again highlights the permanency of the internet, with every word you write is saved and public. Twitter has been described as being like a loaded gun for celebrities as in a moment of anger words can be written that come back to bite them.
      There is also the idea that people are living behind their computer screens, and have the confidence to write what they really feel online, but have lost the social skills to construct a normal face-to-face conversation.
      I also agree that there has been a depreciation for the advances in the World Wide Web in relation to the older generation. My grandmother for instance, I set her up using Skype 6 months ago, she's already forgotten how to use it. Technology is moving with the younger generation, at times I feel my youngest sibling knows more about my iPad than I do!


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