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Thoughts on the Internet

Call me crazy, but one long-term side-effect of the COVID-19 pandemic is that we have turned to the Internet for the community, and that is not entirely a good thing. Whether it is treating stock markets as a game or crazy conspiracies becoming acceptable, we don’t quite know the unintended consequences of the mass shift to the Internet as a replacement for physical relationships. 

Om Malik, Too much Internet?

It must have been a gradual conversion. If I look at my computer now, almost none of what I do is purely local, and the vast majority of what I do on my computer is done in a web browser.

I read my email in my browser. I talk to people on my favorite social network in my browser. I look at pictures and chat with friends in my browser. I read news in my browser instead of watching it on TV.

Sadly, I could probably get along just fine with a ChromeBook (as long as I could ignore the slurping sounds of Google sucking up every ounce of information about me they could so they could sell it to the highest bidder).

The weird part about this is, part of me really doesn’t like that this is the case, but I don’t want to change how I’m doing things.

Mike Stone, Internet Everywhere

As someone who has been in online communities for several decades now, I don’t share Om Malik’s pessimism. We tend to focus too much on the bad stuff that happens online, and not nearly enough on the good. For me, the camaraderie and support I’ve both given and received over the years have made me a better person.

And regarding Mike Stone’s concern about always-online, I think there will be a middle ground that is not only desirable but necessary. Because, whether software, hardware and telecom companies like it or not, an Internet connection is not guaranteed, even at a local level. Thank lack of infrastructure maintenance or upgrading for that, along with increasingly paranoid governments wanting to control the flow of information.

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