Monday, December 8, 2014

Reflections: My Life With The Internet

A writer's work is never done. Sometimes even when it is done, you have to go back and do it again. With seven days to go, I am now down to just under 200 articles left to migrate. I've started to wonder if I really want to continue to go through the trouble.

There have been changes at Helium prior to this very big one, including shifting everything over to a new site (that was fun), re-categorizing of existing articles, title changes... in the shift away from first person, some pieces were shuffled around to the prose section under the heading "Beyond Prose."

Prior to this, those opinion oriented pieces were a quick means of boosting your score as you could submit an article to a title that had several articles already and quickly rise to the top 25%. Now that none of that matters anymore, reflective pieces such as "How I see Myself in the Mirror," and "How I Relax: My Favorite Hobbies," just seem irrelevant.

There is one title though I think that is more interesting to me today than it was when I cranked it out November of 2009. It's a reflection on using the internet, though when it was migrated to the new site some genius put it under memoirs. When I think back on my first experiences with the internet and compare those to how I use it today, it seems they are light years apart.

Technology has become such a huge part of our everyday lives that it is almost invasive. It crosses over into just about everything we do and we are now a planet of gadget junkies wirelessly connected at all times. I'm happy to say that nine years post K I have now reached a point where I can feel comfortable shutting my phones down at night.

My relationship with the internet has changed significantly just in the short time between now and when I first submitted the article shared below. Just a few short decades ago, this was all the stuff of science fiction, and now it's increasingly becoming the norm. As much as I resisted both Facebook and Twitter, social media marketing has become a huge part of my regular routine, and what on earth would I do without Pinterest?

Memoirs How I use the Internet

At the time I first ventured onto the internet I didn't know very much about it let alone the potential of what it could be used for. I had seen journalists in movies and on television accessing some kind of massive computer library of information and I assumed the internet functioned much like that.
When I first discovered the internet I did not have access to it at my home, or even my own internet ready computer, for that matter. I think I first learned about it through a friend whose husband did some kind of work. They had internet service in their home and she was always on it, usually visiting the chat rooms. It was an outlet for her because at the time she was a stay at home mom.
A short time later I started out using the internet at my mother's house and in the beginning I would visit chat rooms and occasionally look up information. There was not nearly the amount of online resources then as there are today, but it was new and fun and because I had my own screen name on my mom's AOL account I was able to receive email.
Once I started to learn how to navigate around the Internet Super Highway I also learned how to download and save documents for future reference. The best thing about it was that when you wanted to do research you could do it at any hour of the day, unlike visiting the local library. Back then it was all via dial up service using your home telephone.
When I was able to start accessing the internet from home I would spend hours on it looking up all sorts of information on how to do things. At times I would not have the budget to go out and buy books and the internet was a valuable twenty-four hour resource for learning new information from a variety of sources I would not have been able to access otherwise.
Over the years I have gotten away from visiting the chat rooms. I ventured into the sphere of online dating briefly without success and I delved into some of the early social networking sites. I visited online game rooms and did a little shopping. During the time I didn't have a car being able to shop online made a huge difference in my ability to get the things that I needed.
At one point time I spent a lot of time on email reward programs like My Points and Bonus Mail (which are now merged into one program) as well as a couple of programs that no longer exist like Freeride. Those programs made a significant impact in my getting to go out during periods when I wasn't working via the gift cards and movie passes I earned.
Today a lot of things have changed. Now I mainly use the internet for email correspondence and I still spend quite a lot of time researching information. I occasionally play games and do a little shopping and I am the organizer for a meetup group. Recently I have been spending more and more time with passive income writing sites and I am trying to carve out some time to develop my blogs. I check my email multiple times per day and just I can not imagine my life without the internet.

1 comment:

  1. Amazing how quickly it happens. AOL seems a million years ago! Yet I can still remember that initial thrill when the dial up noise indicated you were connected (remember those busy signals during peak times?!? lol)