Thursday, October 01, 2009


I found a fascinating article in the Telegraph via Neatorama that talks about how the internet—in its 15 years of existence—has radically changed our lives by “killing” a variety of things—“from products and business models to life experiences and habits.” I felt the retrospective was important enough to blog about. Author Matthew Moore notes that “tasks that once took days can be completed in seconds, while traditions and skills that emerged over centuries have been made all but redundant.” For example, “The internet is no respecter of reputations: innocent people have seen their lives ruined by viral clips distributed on the same World Wide Web used by activists to highlight injustices and bring down oppressive regimes.”
Here are what I believe to be the top 10 of the 50 radical changes identified by Moore:
1. The Art of Polite Disagreement –The internet has sharpened the tone of debate. A single comment can set off a firestorm, and all opponents have an agenda. “The most raucous sections of the blogworld seem incapable of accepting sincerely held differences of opinion.”
2. Punctuality –“Before mobile phones, people actually had to keep their appointments,” or at least you would get a 30 minute warning about lateness. Today texting friends that you will be five minutes late is de rigueur. And it is considered perfectly acceptable.
3. Watches –The phone has replaced the watch as a timepiece for many. After years of glancing at my watch, however, I often forget that the phone in my pocket tells time, too, and is often more precise.
4. Letter Writing – A relic of the past, but a dear one at that. No doubt e-mail is more efficient and makes total business sense, but it’s nice to receive a handwritten note from time to time. Obviously, the term “pen pal” has disappeared.
5. Memory—Who needs a memory when you can check out any obscure fact on Google or Wikipedia?
6. Privacy—“Users of social media make more information available about themselves than Big Brother could ever hoped to obtain by covert means.”
7. Geographical Knowledge—Who needs it with GPS Systems in cars and even smartphones?
8. Reading Telegrams at Weddings—“Quoting from a wad of email printouts doesn’t have the same magic.”
9. Your Lunchbreak –“Did you leave your desk today? Or snaffle a sandwich while sending a few personal emails” and checking the price of a week in Paris?
10. Footnotes –“Made superfluous by the link, although Wikipedia is fighting a brave rearguard action.”

Technorati Tags: Telegraph, Neatorama, internet, Matthew Moore, social media, Makovsky, public relations, business, technology


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Moore's article takes me back to the good old days of BBS's at 2400 baud. I remember thinking how amazing it was that I could read news of what was happening in India, or see what the weather was like in any city, with the touch of a button. Of course it took five minutes to load a page and it was all text, but that just added to the mystique.

Thursday, October 01, 2009 12:12:00 PM  

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