Remember the days before the Internet? Well, if you are over 25, you should have some vague memories on how life was back in the days with no Internet access.
Life has changed so much during the past decade that it's almost impossible for a teenager to understand how we survived without a constant connection. In fact, it even sounds strange to us now to actually remember how we used to spend our time, although the memories are still there. If I had to describe in one word the first memory I have about life before the Internet, I would choose "silence". Silence was not literal, but rather metaphorical, since we didn't have to deal with all the social buzz and the noise that may turn distracting from time to time.
Like it or not, communication was more personal, face-to-face contact had to be less awkward, while our mind functioned in a completely different way, being obliged to retain information, focusing on one task at a time. Even as a child, playing and studying was significantly different, with group games taking place on the playground, and hardcover encyclopedias were still used as a way to find the information you were looking for.
Growing up alongside the Internet allowed us to appreciate times before and after in their own way. It is great to remember even a few memories from life before the Internet, and it is even better to look back at the moment we first connected to the Internet at home. From the days I had no idea what the Internet was, to the time that our Internet connection was lost as soon as the phone rang, or even the sound when trying to connect online, are all fond memories that are difficult to explain today, and it is this connectivity that we take for granted.
Nostalgia is always present on such cases for the older era, but this doesn't mean that we wish we were still stuck at that era. It's great to move forward and that's how it goes.
The Internet is not the enemy and it definitely has changed our lives for so many good reasons. The world is more accessible than ever before, and communications are fast and direct with everyone around the world. The Internet created new jobs, and kids now learn from a very young age the importance of becoming a digitally savvy individual in this modern connected world.
What we may miss (and the younger ones are possibly not able to understand) is the different peace of mind we experienced while enjoying a book without distractions from another task, or when we listened to music without a streaming service, focusing on one item at a time. Content overload is everywhere nowadays, and it's up to us to find a balance between the actual benefits of our constant connectivity, and using technology in the best possible and most efficient way.
For those that don't have the memories of life before the Internet, here's a suggestion.
Try to enjoy an afternoon with no Internet at all? What would you do? How would you spend your time?
This could even turn into a habit once per week, allowing you to reconnect with yourself, setting aside any digital distraction. What do you think?
Connect with me on Twitter to further discuss this: @knowAJ
Photo credit: Slate