The Internet is a demanding mistress. Once you hookup – you’re hooked. At the moment I’m on a short vacation and yet, I find I have a craving to stay connected.
Now, that’s either a sad commentary on my lifestyle, or the tentacles of “always on” communication have finally managed to wrap themselves around my DNA. Maybe this is what evolution is really all about Frankly though, I’m beginning to find the whole thing neuron numbing.
It’s not just the Net that has wormed its way into my subconscious (I wonder what Freud would say about that), it’s the entire technology thing – the world of connected devices, and the ever increasing perceptual need for increased speed.
A couple of years ago, I wrote a piece – which I didn’t post – in which I kicked around the following personal points.
I’m an old computer dog now, and I must admit, that being so makes it just a little harder to learn new tricks. On the other hand, being an old dog does have a positive side – I’m not a techno lemming.
You won’t find me jumping off the cliff with the masses on their way to the Apple (Techno Lemmings “R” Us) Store, for the latest and greatest iPad, or iPhone, or stripping out a dual core processor for a tiny improvement (maybe) to be gained by installation a quad core, or better, processor.
Even Facebook has little appeal – although, I will admit, I do have a Facebook account. Not sure why really – I just don’t see the benefit; at least not yet. Hmmm, maybe I’m more hype driven than I feel comfortably admitting.
Fast forward to today – I now use Facebook more than ever, (as well as Google+), I jumped off the techno lemming cliff and bought an iPad (to mate with my smart phone) and, went so far as to install a quad core processor – and realized no perceptible gain. Although, I’m sure a benchmarking application will show an increase in performance – if I could only learn to count in microseconds I’m convinced I’d see it too.
This past week, I paid a visit to my Bank (for the first time in years), and not surprisingly, few of the staff recognized me as a customer. Hardly unusual given that I conduct all my financial affairs on the Net. Still, I found it troubling since in years gone by, dropping into the Bank was not unlike stopping by the coffee shop – a bit of conversation – a chance to catch up on the local gossip.
I’m not suggesting that I’ll give up on Internet banking anytime soon but, my banking visit drove home to me that there is a personal hidden price to all this new fangled technology – at my Bank, for example, I’ve become a nameless, faceless, non-entity. Given the types of transactions I complete on the Net, I suspect this is just the tip of the iceberg. In all likelihood, I’ve been reduced to an IP address.
Some years back, I cut my Internet connection for eighteen months or so (2000 – 2001), and, I was more than a little surprised to find that I didn’t miss it – not at all. Interestingly, by the time I reconnected, the basics had not changed. Sure, the hype machine was in its usual overdrive mode in its attempt to convince me that I had missed a revolution – and admittedly, I had missed some evolution – but, hardly a revolution.
I’m now an even older computer dog and, despite my best efforts, I have become a techno lemming. I’m convinced that I’m addicted to the adrenalin rush attached to the self driven need to stay on the leading edge of technology. Sad really.
Marshal McLuhan was right – “The medium is the message”. On balance, I think that connective technologies have been hijacked, more often than not, so that the technologies have become the message rather than content. And so, the need by technologists to disparage “soon to be old technology” which must be replaced by new and more exciting advances. Or so goes the ever active hype machine.
I’m taking myself out of that game. While it’s hardly practical for me to cut the Internet cord again – it is time for me to climb another mountain I think – time to reassess the benefits of my wired world – time to reconnect more closely with the “real” world.
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