Last week a friend of mine from Belgium asked me why we haven’t written any articles in English yet. So here I go. It has been a long time since I wrote more than 10 lines in English so I apologize in advance for any grammatical mistakes and pleaselet me know if you find one.
Like Benjamin Franklin once said:
Tell me and i forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.
Next month I’m moving into a new place, nice district, beautiful apartment but without furniture and in need of some renovation. I have two options: I could take the car (if I had one) and go to every store (if I had the time) and start comparing prices: Ikea, Mondo Convenienza, Mercatone Uno, Mediaworld, Euronics, etc. Or I could go for the second option: enter the world wide web, no need for a car, no need to move at all, I save a lot of time and with one WiFi touch away I am connected to all the stores I need.
Using the internet makes life easier, maybe too easy sometimes! Mine was just an example, but really, can you still remember how your life was before you had your Smartphone, before you had installed WhatsApp (released in 2009), how much money you would spend calling and texting your family, friends, colleagues, etc. Living without Facebook may be easy (founded in 2004) or maybe not (ca. 1.49 billion monthly active users) but let’s go one step further would it be easy to live again without your mobile?
How much do we depend on internet, technology?
While writing this article Internet Live Stats indicates that there are 3,226,059,500 users connected to the web. Statistics from the same website show that in 2014 Italy was in the top 20 with 36,593,969 users (more than half their population) and Belgium had 9,441,116 users (population: 11,144,420). The top 3 is dominated by China, the United States and India. “From 738 million mobile cellular subscriptions in 2000, the mobile cellular industry has grown widely all over the globe registering more than 7 billion mobile cellular subscriptions by the end of 2015” (Dazeinfo). I could go on and on giving you numbers and statistics, but I think we both got the point.
Posing myself the question I asked you before I should say that maybe in a way I am an addict, but I think of myself as a “responsible addict”. I use the virtual world and technology as a support to the real world: to stay in touch with my loved ones back home (WhatsApp, Facebook, Hotmail, Skype), to promote our blog (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+) and write new articles (WordPress, OpenOffice), to remain updated about what’s going on in the world (Feedly), to find new job opportunities (LinkedIn and other popular job websites), to text and call my friends to meet or to simply know how they are (Smartphone), to plan my holidays without spending a fortune (TripAdvisor, Booking.com, Skyscanner).
The only problem today is that society in general has become very dependent on Internet and the New Technologies. They invented the phone long before the internet and long before the phone we could already correspond by letter or telegram. What scares me is that today it seems that the Old Technologies have lost their independence and have evolved in symbiosis with the new ones preventing them to be able to survive on their own if tomorrow someone decides to crash the world wide web. You and I know that technology is just a tool to help us but many may not. But if humanity has been able to survive without modern technology for centuries and we are part of humanity why shouldn’t we be able to do the same.
Using the web wisely means that it makes our life more comfortable, not comfortable, it means it can increase visibility of a company but not create its reputation, it means you can stay in touch with people but not actually touch them, share written words and sentences, pictures and files about your life but not their real interpretation, your real feelings and neither tell who you really are. Internet and technology should remain a virtual sidekick to simplify life: find a good restaurant, reconnect with old friends, conduct a research or find information for an article you are writing, find your doctor’s visiting hours, share photographs and files (be aware when you share information, once online going back offline is almost impossible), communicate and even flirt (sometimes it is much easier to approach someone online but stay honest about who you are. Don’t be scared to move from the virtual to the real world, the internet is just a jumping-off point not a hiding point), for marketing and promotional purposes (it’s easier to reach a lot of people at once but it’s more difficult and it takes more time to find out the response of your audience to the information you have provided).
And remember like Abraham Lincoln once said: