Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Internet: From Resource to Pastime

I have a love/hate relationship with the Internet. I love the quick information; I hate the amount of time I spend glued to my computer screen.

Yet here I am, day-after-day, using the Web and email to conduct most of my professional business. Then I go home and, you guessed it, get on the computer to pay bills, check email, or enjoy my friends’ and family’s latest adventures as posted on their Web sites.

When did the Internet change from resource to pastime? Why do people choose to socialize on the Internet, rather than in person? I send emails to colleagues, some of whom are mere steps away. Equally shocking, they email me back. Are we avoiding the exercise of leaving our chairs? Perhaps we are worried that the walk will take so much time we won’t possibly be able to finish our work.

The Internet allows us to avoid nearly anything. We can avoid standing in lines by shopping online. We can avoid calling “loved ones” by posting an online photo album. We can avoid the brisk morning walk down the driveway in our robes by checking our RSS feeds.

Where the Internet used to be a convenience, it is now a vehicle for avoidance. Presumably as innovation continues, I may never have to leave my office-issued chair. Lucky me.