The Big Switch

by

After reading about Nicholas Carr’s The Big Switch, I got a little concerned.  The wonderful thing about the internet is that it can bring us closer together.  I can be on facebook and chat with friends from Rome.  It makes life so easy.  And being 20, being raised during the .com era, we expect everything to be right there for us and to for it to be easy.  You can look up anything you need online.  I love that.  But Carr shows that the easy is not so good.  The internet is now just a tool that we use.  We don’t think about the fact that we are putting information out into the universe that anyone can access.  We are making ourselves more available, which can actually be damaging.  People can look up anything they want about you.  You can go on to google and look down at your back yard.  What an invasion of privacy!  One wrong click and your computer, as my friends lovingly refer to as “their babies”, can get infected and be harmed.  And that is a scary thought.  We might think that we are taking precautions to protect ourselves from this, and for the most part this is probably safe enough.  But then, what if it’s not?  I know that personally, I just don’t like to think about that.  Maybe that is bad, but I go through the steps to be as safe a possible and not allow anything that I may not want floating around out there.

As a student, I love that fact that I can do my research online.  Trying to find images and information for my art papers is much easier.  I like that.  I like the convenience.  But what if we have replaced convenience with efficiency?  I know people who believe that if something doesn’t have a Wikipedia page then it is not very important.  Is that true?  The easiness of Wikipedia is great.  But trying to do my research using it is stupid.  We don’t take the time to verify.

Sometimes I think that I was born in the wrong era.  I would have fit in very well in the 40s.  Life had its own problems then too, but the stopped then.  They weren’t moving at a mile a minute, which having the internet certainly doesn’t allow us to do.  If you wanted to talk to someone you sent a letter.  If you wanted to do research you had to read the book.  Sometimes I am afraid that I never look at anything too closely because I get just the little bit that I need when I type it in the search engine.  You had to spend some time actually doing the work or reading the book or going to the sight/museum/city.  Maybe that is why I love studying art and history.  To study the past, you actually have to slow down enough to see it, to remember it.    Sometimes I wonder, do we really like moving this fast or do we just not know how to slow down anymore?

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