Archive for June 25, 2009

In praise of the internet

I am sure all of us could share how the internet has positively affected our lives.  It could be through expansion of your company online and therefore abroad, starting a blog that became a book, or helping you do research for your job or school. For me, the internet has helped to make this really big world seem a lot smaller.

Growing up, my family moved around so much, continuity of friendships was extremely tough.  Oh sure, I would write letters (when’s the last time you wrote a letter??) long after I moved, but when we moved almost every single year, how is a 5th or 6th expected to keep that level of communication up?

Moving around was my dad’s thing as he continued to climb the professional ladder and we did it constantly.  Good for him in what he was trying to accomplish, but not so good if you are a kid trying to get to varsity on the volleyball team, or run cross country, or become editor of the school newspaper. Tough to do all that when you are moving around, trying to meet new people, and establish yourself once again in a new school.

In spite of all that, life goes on and the friends you made along the way stick with you. Maybe not in the sense that you still have contact, 13 moves later. But they stick with you in the sense that you haven’t forgotten about them, you wonder where they are, how life has treated them, etc. So, whenever the chance allows, you Google them, or try to find them on Classmates, or Linkedin, or Facebook.

In my case, I started reconnecting with some old high school friends via Classmates in 2005. Then in 2007, Linkedin helped bridge the gap with some old college friends. And in the past 2 years, Facebook has been an awesome tool to help me re-establish friendships.  More significantly, my having a website has sent family and friends my way that I would have never thought possible. All of this due to the internet.  Sure, there is talk that all this time spent emailing, IMing, etc. is breaking down our ability to communicate face to face, making many of us more isolated than ever, and reducing the quality of relationships.

But for me, all that talk is unfounded.  I have made many friends through online classes that I have been both a student and instructor; friendships that I can count on 4 years later having either never met that person face to face, or only having met them once.  I have talked to friends from 20 years ago, and most recently, a neighbor I hadn’t talked to since I was 12.  For me, the power of the internet has helped to take a very migratory upbringing and make it seem less so. How has the internet helped you?

June 25, 2009 at 9:49 am 2 comments

June 2009