Remember the olden days, when anyone who used a computer regularly was a geek or a nerd? Remember that? And, remember when being a computer geek meant spending huge chunks of time sitting alone in a dark room, basking in the glow of a CRT monitor? My, how times have changed.
Technology today has gotten downright sexy, and continues to grow faster and cheaper at breakneck speed. For just a few hundred bucks, anyone can own a laptop or netbook that is perfectly suited for web surfing, emailing, word processing, and even light gaming. Gone, too, are the days of being tethered to a phone line or a cable modem. The Internet is almost anywhere we want to go.
This is old news, right? Well, maybe, but have you noticed the impact this is having on society? Portability and affordability have spawned accessibility, and more and more people are taking their computers everywhere. More importantly, though, are the ways in which we are using them. It’s not all about surfing for news and shopping any more. Thanks to “social sites,” we are actually using our computers to bring us closer together.
Possibly the most glaring example of the social web phenomenon is Facebook. I know it’s been around for a while, but I only recently signed up. Yes, I admit that I was leery at first; for me this decision was all about security, not technology. I simply wasn’t sure I wanted to “put myself out there,” much less
I found my oldest friend, with whom I’ve been through thick and thin since seventh grade. We’d fallen out of touch, and neither of us can remember why, but it doesn’t matter. We’re back.
I found my rabbi from high school, who was (is!) so cool, and who I admired so much, that I almost decided to become a rabbi, myself. I never enjoyed my religion so much as when he and I were talking about it, relating it to real life, making ancient text relative and vital in modern times.
I found an old friend with whom I haven’t spoken in about 15 years, since before my oldest child could walk. His job breezed him into our lives, and then away, at a time when keeping in touch was not as easy as it is today.
That’s right, through my computer and the Internet, I have renewed and rekindled some of the most meaningful relationships from my past. Some may wonder how important these people could be to me if we’d been out of touch so long. The fact is that they’re VERY important, even more so now that I realize how much I’ve missed them. That they are equally as happy about our reunion means the world to me.
Never before has it been so easy to maintain meaningful relationships with people all over the world. In these hectic times when my job and my kids have replaced any respectable semblance of a real-world social life, it is technology that keeps me up to date on the most important people in my life - or at least the ones who don't live in my house.
Forget hunkering over a huge computer in a dark, companionless room. The Internet has left the house, jumped the fence, and emerged into the light of day. Of course, this does mean that any whack-job with an ISP can post crap on the web. But for every thousand whack-jobs I encounter, I also find a genuine friendship or two. That is, most definitely, good enough for me.