Thursday, November 03, 2005

is the internet making me dumber or just lazier?

About a week ago, the Potato broke my alarm clock. It was a very old alarm clock--in fact, I've had it since my grandfather died in 1990--it belonged to him. It wasn't anything special as far as alarm clocks go--just your garden variety digital that made a horrible beeping sound every morning. It's the kind of thing that probably wasn't built to last for fifteen years, and I'm kind of surprised that it did. But the Potato has been on some kind of mission to deconstruct it for several months, and he finally succeeded.

I ordered this, and today it came in the mail. And it got me to thinking about the role that the Internet plays in my life now, and how I depend on it for so many things. I spend an awful lot of time online for my job--the amount of email I send and receive in a single day is just astonishing (and I'm not talking about spam or ads, though I get those too). In recent years, I've found an apartment online, I relocated across the country on the basis of a job that I found online, hell, I even found one of my kids' names online!

Yesterday, I had to do some background research on a guy who my boss is meeting with in a few weeks. Through some pointed googling, I found out practically everything about him except his shoe size, including his political giving history going back until 1995. In the days before public online databases, it would have taken me a really long time to find all this stuff out, but I was able to compile a fairly detailed portrait in just a few hours. In the same way, in the days, if I had broken my alarm clock, I would have had to go to an actual store and buy one.

These are (to me) the advantages of the Internet--greater access to information, the ability to shop for almost anything, communication with a nearly unlimited number of people on a nearly unlimited number of topics.

But there's a dark side to my Internet use, too. The time I spend blogging when I should be cleaning my house. The virtually unlimited number of ways that I waste time online that I could be using more productively--playing with my kids, reading a book, hanging out with friends--whatever. I'm almost starting to feel like I'm addicted to the Internet. (The first step is admitting that you have a problem?) What about you? Are you an Internet addict?

On the more productive Internet-use side, check out the new button on my blog for "Since Sliced Bread". It's a cool contest going on that asks ordinary people to come up with ways to make the economy better. Check it out--you can win $100,000 if you submit the winning proposal. But you'll have to beat me to do it!

• Posted By landismom @ 11/03/2005 08:34:00 PM
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