Once upon a time there was a world where internet and cell phones did not exist. Our computers were bulky beasts that sat alongside a dot matrix printer. Most telephones were of the corded rotary dial variety unless your family splurged on the latest push button model. We read our news in a newspaper that was either delivered on a weekly or daily basis, depending on where you lived. Walter Cronkite presented the evening news, with his trusting yet authoritative voice, that we watched on our television sets without cable, remote control, or high definition.
If you would have told me 35 years ago that we would one day have high speed internet and smart phones, I would have thought you were crazy or writing the next best-seller science fiction novel. Today, I stand corrected, baffled, amazed, frustrated and saddened by the advancements in technology that have swept across the globe. Don’t get me wrong, I love many aspects of the digital world, from being able to do my shopping online, to sending a print job from my cell phone, to making video calls to my sons.
But cell phone usage has become an addiction for the masses, from texting to playing games, to checking email and social media. Instead of spending time with our loved ones, free from distractions, we are consumed with our electronic handheld devices. At work, school, and home, tweets, texts, notifications, vibrations and ringtones compete for our attention, rewarding us with an instant message, video, photo, game request, or other non-urgent information. Even drivers are so distracted by technology, thinking only of themselves, that they risk an accident just to read/respond to a text, talk on their cell, or take a selfie or other picture with their phone.
And the World Wide Web has become like a side show at a traveling circus, where one can go to be dazzled, offended, and possibly fooled by all the gimmicks and “experts” out there on the information superhighway. We live in an “anything goes” multi-media society, where scams, hacks, viral videos, and the likes of an underground Internet world exist with just a few clicks of the mouse. Sensationalism is the new norm.
With online news outlets looking for content 24/7, journalism has gotten a bad rap in this day and age. So much non-news fillers and typos to boot that I long for the days of old, when news was really news, edited by professionals, instead of articles written on the fly and posted without being proofed or fact checked.
I wish my parents were still around so I could ask them what they think of technology today. But then again, maybe they were feeling the same way then, 35 years ago, the way I feel today!