Tuesday, June 24, 2014

More Internet snapshots

The issue of the Internet comes up. People say to me spontaneously, at least every once in awhile, "The Internet is amazing!" And I am invariably compelled to answer this comment with "It seems to think so."

But there are problems beyond, or perhaps underneath, the Internet's astounding, creepy, viral skill at self promotion.

The biggest real problem with the Internet is that we don't know how to use it. Or maybe I need to put that differently. The amount of time, knowledge, skill, focus, discipline and dedication to use it properly is beyond all but the most dedicated professionals and the most rabid of Internet hobbyists. The rest of us use it like a stick, or better, like children with a dazzling shiny toy vastly beyond our developmental level . "Look! A button!" We cry. And we click. "I can click!" We cry. "Look! Funny! Ha!" We laugh. "Beautiful!" Click. "Oh, that's not what I thought was going to happen!" Click. "Kitty!" We say.  Click, click, click, click. "What do I click?" Click the loud thing, the big thing, the mysterious thing. Communicate! Know! Click, click, click. We get a phone so we can have the Internet in our pocket. The Internet is too amazing to do without! "I am playing checkers in my pocket!" We cry. 

"Do you have a small checkers set in your pocket?" Someone born in the 1900's asks.

"No!" You reply breathlessly "I have one of the most sophisticated technological devices in the universe!"

"So it does more than play checker?"

"Check this out!" You fumble with your phone. "This just takes a minute." You say. "Shoot. I hope I didn't get it wet." Then you say things about things not working lately. You might also say some mysterious grumbly things about reception. "I need to log in for this. I don't know why logging in takes so long!" Then "Here!" You cry triumphantly, handing your phone over.

"The screen's blank." The person says.

"Hmm." You say. "Oh, just hit this. Here. Wait." You take back your phone and tap. "There!" You exclaim, handing the phone back again.

"Is that your hermit crab?"

"Yes, I have 130,000 pictures of my hermit crab!"

"Cute. Can I see some?"

"Sure." You say. "Here." You take back your phone and begin fiddling. Then you crash your car.

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