I was born before the cell phone era… before the Internet… before home computers; at least as we know them. Somewhere in a box in my house is my first cell phone purchased around 1994. A large flip phone with a useless antenna and so big that losing it was not even an option. My first computer cost about $1,700 and was purchased around 1997 when the Internet was known as AOL or Compuserve or some other mixture of words to form new words. The Internet was not really the world wide web; it was more of a room wide web. Very restrictive but still awesome, even with dial up. That’s right… dial up. Want to watch a video? No, not going to happen on dial up.
The cell phone went from a large monstrosity to something smaller than the palm of your hand. That is until smart phones caused us to go back to ‘bigger is better’. Who wants to watch a video on something the size of a tic tac? Notice how we’ve gone from watching videos on a computer screen to our cell phones, a device that handles more than a room full of old computers. The cell phone is incredibly powerful yet what do we do with them? Send text, take photos, play games, and bitch when we can’t get things instantly.
My first computer was the size of an Egyptian pyramid with less memory than the tic tac I mentioned a moment ago. It couldn’t do anything but made a lovely paper weight. Eventually I bought a lap top which lasted quite a while until someone talked me into getting something newer… which wasn’t as awesome but cost half as much. Now I have an all-in-one computer with more memory and power than I’ll ever need but one day I will feel the need to replace it as well.
The Internet went from chat rooms and useless information to an enormous amount of information where everyone seems to know everything about everything. If you can’t find it on line, it doesn’t exist. Of course, it also has so much crap that it’s hard to find the truth through the smell. Several years ago… lets say about ten… I had a website that people were impressed with because I built it using Front Page and taught myself how to do it. Now… well, I don’t need to know anything about building a website yet can still make one. Templates… that’s all you need to know these days.
Is the smart phone making us stupid? Is the Internet just another way of keeping the masses subdued during the stampede? Is our need for the newest device just a way to keep our money out of our own accounts?
And no matter the answer to these questions, how many of us would be honestly willing to give it all up?
This post was originally seen on Alexandria (aleksandreia.com).