Thoughts on Kingdom, Church, and Grace from an American living in Hong Kong

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

What's the Internet?

Ah, 1994!  Seems like only yesterday.  The nation was tuned to Seinfeld on Thursday nights, The "Big Dog" was President of the United States, and when people wanted to buy the hottest selling album of the year by Hootie and the Blowfish, they actually had to purchase a CD after driving to the local record store.  Crazy times eh?  When was the last time you purchased a CD?

But 1994 was the year the "Internet" really took off.  Living in Hong Kong, before 1994 I sent and received letters, after 1994 I sent and received e-mails.  A friend of mine was a professor at a university here in Hong Kong.  He showed me web browsing on the "World Wide Web" in his office one afternoon and I was astonished at how, suddenly, information was available on near any subject with a few simple clicks.  I think it was that week that that I got my first dial up subscription with "Hong Kong Supernet"

When I saw this clip of the today show I was really hit by how much the world has changed! 

A couple years ago I read a fascinating article at the BBC (interesting enough written by John Taylor of Duran Duran fame) where he writes how the instant gratification of the internet steals some of the mystery of life.  He talks about how you used to have to scour magazine interviews or liner notes on albums to glean some insight into the life of a music star.  Now you just go to wikipedia and learn everything about anyone instantly.  Something is lost...people are addicted to being online and are increasingly becoming socially inept.

Really, for me,  it comes down to there being just too much "weirdness" on the internet...starting with the blog-o-sphere.

I'm the first to say I have enjoyed access to old friends that I have found on Facebook, or the instant face to face calls I have had via Skype.  Hey I'm writing this blog right now on the good old World Wide Web but truth be told, if I could click a button and eliminate the internet from our society (and throw in cell phones while we're at it)...I would.

I prefer the simple life... receiving a real letter from a friend in the mailbox, waiting to talk to someone on the phone at home only because you were AT HOME...and flipping through albums (or CDs) at a real store where you could talk with an attendant about music, movies, or whatever.  A time where I could sit through a meal without my  cell phone beeping to let me know I have received, yes, another text message.  I don't like cell phones and often...ooops..."forget" it at home.

 I wish I had the conviction to unilaterally pull the plug but society has deemed this is the way we interact now..

But I am still holding out in one area...I have still NEVER sent a text message!

1 comment:

Bob said...

You echo many of my thoughts, which is a comfort to me, since you're about ten years my junior.

I think it comes down to how we handle all these things. Personally, I HATE television, but of course there are things about it I enjoy. I can't stand to be in a room with a TV on, with nobody watching it -- it's just noise. It's one of the biggest difference between my wife and me, as she likes the "white noise."

I'm with you on the Internet but, of course, you and I wouldn't be communicating without it.

I still write personal notes. I leave my cell phone in the car when I go out to eat. I got an iPod for Christmas but I haven't taken it out of the box.

It's all in the management of things.