Editor’s Note: This week was supposed to be part 2 of our piece on “Managing the flow of information” but we received a great reply to our earlier post titled “It’s not about how, it’s about who…” from one of our Network Administrators, our crack squad of experts on best practices and preventative monitoring and maintenance. And he’s been “wired” for a while. Although they have asked to remain unnamed, we are delighted they agreed to share their personal story and perspective…
I’ve been online since late 1993ish. I can remember when Netscape Navigator Beta 0.9 was released. I can remember using PINE for email. I can remember when Slackware was the Linux distro of choice. My first job in IT was working at an internet provider for a whole $8.50 an hour. I left a job making 59K a year as a tradesman to do what I wanted to do. It was the best choice I ever made.
I went on my first “internet date” in 1994. Most of the world had no idea what that meant and my dad thought I was nuts: “You’re going on a date with a girl you’ve never seen?” But the internet was intoxicating in the early days. It was a place that allowed me to escape the narrow clutches of FM radio for more music. I could interact with people a “million miles away.” I was a web moderator of a site in Sweden, now long gone, but I’m still “friends” with some of people I met there. I experienced dealing with the death of an internet friend of 17 years. I met her once for an afternoon but we remained friends forever, only I had no idea she died until I sought out why she had stopped posting.
I not only saw the browser be born, I saw the first chat program “Powwow” appear, later to be replaced by ICQ. I still have my 6-digit number.
I watched the internet defy all expectations.
So the internet has played a HUGE part of my life. I’d argue it IS my life. It’s the driving force of my love for Linux. And growing up in Waterloo, Ontario, in the shadow of our country’s best university for computers, it inspired me to become a computer guy.
That said, I honestly am not sure if the internet is a good thing for human relations. You speak of how the internet allows human interaction between family members or friends. Yes indeed, it does. But I see that like I see a pre-MP3 era band claiming the internet helped them. That may be true, but they were also beneficiaries of that “old system” which helped vault them to success. How would they fare if they were “born” today? And I say the same thing about human relations. Yes, tech is great to talk to my Mom 3500 kms away. But in the new world order, we are establishing relationships online and I’m not sure that’s as healthy as we think it is.
I think it strips away a part of humanity and that’s mostly been a negative for us. We “talk” in text, missing the nuances of the other person. Our conversations with others become one dimensional. They lack that humanity of having that person sitting across from us. Words are incredibly powerful, but human interaction is far more powerful. It’s multi-dimensional. So I’m not sure that text, video or voice chat can ever replace real human interaction.
Ironic I suppose coming from a guy whose entire life came about because of the internet. I’ve been out here coming up on 24 years. It’s amazing. The internet has played a HUGE part of my life and is in every corner of it. Yet I wonder how much of our existence is lost out on the wire. For all the good, you can’t ignore the hate, the isolation, the disconnection of humanity that the internet has enabled. Yes, emotion can travel over packets, but not to the extent it can when you’re sitting with someone in front of you.
I think it’s a debate we don’t have enough in a world of Tinder-style apps. And it’s relevant to our business because we need a human face on site sometimes. Nothing will EVER beat the human touch.
Signed a serial internet dater & netizen