As hard as it is for me to believe sometimes, there was a time when I did not have access to the Internet. I have very good memories of what was going on in my life during this period, but I couldn’t tell you how I was able to find information on anything. Obviously, there were books, but I don’t remember buying or checking out that many at the library. Then there was TV. I can honestly say I learned a lot from TV, but it’s not like you can get information on demand: You’re at the mercy of whatever is floating over the airwaves. Particuarily, I wonder how I got current news and statistics? I guess I watched CNN and just grabbed stats as they came across. The problem with the statistical stuff not being online was that it was very hard to remembers certain stats from year to year. Now, I can just hop online and pull up secular statistics for about anything and do comparisons. No more hard-core memorization.
Implications of the Internet
It seems like I remember that people shared information with each other verbally more before the Net. There was, from what I recall, a lot more exchanges like, “Hey man, I saw on TV last night…” Nowadays, it’s more like “I found this neato website with [insert name of desired information here] on it. I’ll e-mail you a link to it.” This sort of link exchanging is all well and good, but you have to wonder if society will lose the ability to summarize information on the fly. This is a valuable skill to possess when decisions must be made quick and there is one or two people who must disperse information to an entire group.
I do wonder whether having information on-tap will help enhance our ability to remember facts and figures…On the one hand, we probably don’t try as hard to remember certain things because we know we can pull them up anytime at our leisure. On the other hand, we may be more effective at remembering really important stuff because we don’t bog down our brains with so many of the things that are readily available now.