I just got off the phone with my internet and home telephone service provider, found out the utilities are going to be out of commission or another week. Each time I walk by my laptop I twitch a little, or perhaps just imagine myself twitching a little for comedic effect, feeling the urge to sit down with it to Google something on my mind, check my email, look something up on YouTube, or something of the sort. The Internet is an incredible tool, so it’s understandable that I and millions of others find themselves surfing away multiple times a day. So long as we’re plugged in, so long as we’re subscribed to any of a number of competing service providers, we have access at the click of a mouse to exponentially increasing amounts of information.
Online sourcing and communication is prevalent all around us: in schools, at work and as a means to communicate with those across the globe. We can even take a full-credit college course online, which will count towards our degrees just the same as a class taken in person. We can watch tutorials of how to tie a tie, how to baste a turkey, or how to do wash a dog. We can even visit a self-help guide for internet addiction. Pretty much anything you’d like to know, you can learn by searching the Web.
With such a vital source of information, communication and digital storage available to us, many people can end up scrolling through website or clicking our way throughout Wikipedia for hours. There’s the potential to learn nearly endless amounts of information (just so long as they fact check!) and also the potential to waste chunks of your life watching cat videos. The occasional cat video pick-me-up can be healthy, but over indulgence, just as with anything else, ends up being unhealthy. The Internet is a platform from which people can reach for the stars or delve through the ocean. It is the boon and, in some cases, the bane of our generation. Spending time on the internet can lead to brain melt or cranial muscle building, it all depends on the users’ intentions.
But what happens if connection to the Internet were to be cut off, or perhaps heavily censored? From where would we source our information? What about our private entertainment? A South Park episode aired a while back, commenting on the idea. Everyone went crazy, trying to find ridiculous live-action replacements for their go-to site. Though the scenario is extremely unlikely in any case that doesn’t involve massive power-outages, it’s an interesting concept, one that I’ve explored more than usual while experiencing the “I must go Google that” feeling without satiation.
It’s impossible to communicate with people as rapidly and efficiently by any means other than using the Internet. We can share documents, send edits and comments, share and store digital photos and other memorabilia, and communicate with people across oceans without have to pay an international calling fee. The Internet has been the most effective catalyst in connecting and expanding our globalized world. It is my favorite tool, and for this I am entirely thankful.