Monday, 15 November 2010

Thoughts on the Tinterweb

photo copyright Laura Babb,

Fellow Londonista, professional photographer Laura is working up a project on how the internet has (or hasn't) changes people's lives.

Check it out here

These are the questions she asked me:

What is the main influence that the internet has had on your life?

It’s so much easier in a half-hour to stroke, poke, comfort, cajole, encourage or merely check vital signs for your entire human entourage. I now have to make a superhuman effort to ensure I’m as conscientious with my non-facebook friends in enquiring after their loves, lives, jobs and dogs.

In other news, it changed my love life.

Emerging blinking into the daylight aged 47 from a long relationship about the time of the internet explosion, I had wondered if I’d ever date again but after a period of slutdom - which at times felt like I was hanging a ‘to let’ sign out of my bedroom window like some sort of sexual Foxtons - I was first stalked by then introduced to a partner so different in age, background, interests and energies from anyone I’d ever considered before the web broadened my horizons.

This led to three delightful years of romantic involvement (and resignation from all the dating sites) before I eventually released him back into the internet wild.

Has this influence been positive or negative?

Mostly positive, in terms of feeling connected to the wider world – particularly when travelling, which I sometimes do alone: on a long trip through the Caribbean which I didn’t entirely enjoy, I felt much better about it because I was blogging daily and getting feedback from friends and home.

If it has been positive, have there been any negative aspects?

It’s addictive, not always pleasantly, and too consumptive of time. I don’t seem able to do the internet equivalent of Matron’s ward round and skip through the sites and contacts in a brisk morning half-hour, but keep coming back to the facebook comments, and checking various sites for messages all through the day. I can make myself late for appointments by having one last hit before leaving the house.

I don’t like this, and I don’t like myself for doing it.

If it has been negative, have there been any positive aspects?

It keeps up my multi-tasking skills. As a Gemini I’ve always been able to do two things as once, like read with the television on, but now I can monitor tv, cooking and the internet all at the same time. Although I burn more things than before.

I also think that email/texting and online messaging has brought a smidgeon of literacy to a generation I thought had completely skipped it: now even teenagers can form a sentence, of sorts.

If the internet was a person and you met them in a pub, what would you say to them?

Let me buy you a drink and look over your shoulder to see if something more interesting’s happening.

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