Last week I was on vacation. The place I went was up in the hills and too far out for DSL or Cable internet access. So I was stuck with very limited dial up as my only choice for internet access. I had forgotten how incredibly slow the internet is when you are stuck on dial up. It was so slow, that I really couldn’t use it for much beyond simple email. So in effect I had no Internet access for the whole week.
Until I didn’t have it, I really had no idea how dependent on Internet access my daily life had become. Being without Internet access was a real problem. Every time I wanted to do or know anything, I would want to look it up online. But I couldn’t. Directions, movie times, restaurants, schedules, orders, maps, and just general communications. I had to try to remember how I would have found the info without Internet access. Sometimes, I just decided it wasn’t worth knowing or finding out because it would be too much trouble to get whatever info I wanted.
I’m so used to having all of the info available to me online, that I don’t even realize how often I use the Internet. I use the it for all my banking, planning, scheduling, news, and communications. I also use it for general trivia and curiosity whenever I see or hear something I want to know more about. Without it, I felt lost and cut off. Sure I have a cell phone on which I could call anyone I wanted. And the place I was staying at had satellite TV. If I wanted news, I could pick up a newspaper or watch TV any time I wanted. But it wasn’t the same.
I couldn’t read a headline or hear a news blurb, and look up 30 different stories on the topic or event. I couldn’t instantly look up historical background on the city, company, person, nation, or item in the story. Even worse, I couldn’t get the story reported from several different political, social, and demographic points of view. All the news I got was limited and filtered through a few mainstream outlets.
If I wanted to go somewhere I had never been, I needed to ask someone for directions rather than simply looking it up. I’m so used to looking up directions online before going somewhere, that I don’t even own a map anymore and I almost never ask someone for directions. I usually just ask for an address.
I had to call places to find out times and schedules because the information wasn’t right there in front of me just a search away. Movie times, store opening times, calendar events. Even phone numbers for stores and businesses. I had to discover all over again how to find things in a phone book(a huge pain in the neck). All the info I needed was either unavailable or had to be discovered in ways I don’t normally use.
This whole problem kind of surprised me because I hadn’t really realized how dependent I was on the Internet for everything I do and learn now. To think that just 10 years ago, I was barely using it for email, and now I have trouble functioning without it. It makes me think I may be just a little too dependent on it. I guess I’m sort of addicted.
So how necessary is the internet to your daily life?