Is this a step backward?

Just so you know: this page was imported from my old blog. Some pages were rather mangled in the process; my apologies if things don't quite look right.

Tapping away on the laptop to create an online listing of vintage Pugwash magazines this evening, I noticed in the "State Of The Art" section - Pugwash's long-since-gone reviews and culture section - a heading dedicated to "Internet", and it got me thinking...

Back in 2000, when students were still coming to Uni in Portsmouth and experiencing the same things we do today - late nights, house parties, fraught coursework deadlines and uncomfortably long hours in the library - were their lives any richer from the daily interactions we experience online, through our obsessively-checked Facebook notifications and e-mail inboxes, which they had to experience in person in coffee shops and bars, with housemates, in library meetings after lectures, and countless other real, physical places which aren't just a collection of lifeless binary information stored on the hard disk of a server somewhere in the USA?

That's not to say that the same thing doesn't happen today of course, but I think the balance of the information we receive has shifted massively in favour of the internet.

For our predecessors treading the same cash-poor, student lifestyle 7 years ago, did the sum total of their daily interactions with people set a different, more "real" tone to their day, or does the information flood we experience today via the internet, prolific SMS and mobile internet access on our mobile phones, digital TV and more, simply add to our lives without taking anything away?

It seems impossible that all this online interaction - which takes up such a large amount of our daily time - can come at no cost, but is the net result a gain or loss for human interaction and social skills, our emotions and experiences?

These be the ramblings of a sleep-deprived, fuzzy-headed mad-man - please ignore... ;o)


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