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Don’t get me wrong, I love the Internet... usually. There’s nothing like a quick find on Google, a funny video on YouTube or a glance from last night’s scores on ESPN.
Between writing stories Monday afternoon, I spent my time on the Internet keeping up with the Tiger Woods-Rocco Mediate showdown on the golf course, which started out in a playoff and, as I’m writing these words, is finishing up in a thrilling, sudden death. The Internet is a very convenient tool that makes most of our lives very, very easy, and enjoyable at times.
But, on the other hand, I’m afraid of what it’s turning us into. Couldn’t I do some “real” in-depth research to find out anything I can find on Google? Do I need YouTube to get a quick laugh? And why can’t I just look in the morning’s paper to find the scores of last night’s games instead of ESPN? Eventually, I will find out who won the U.S. Open — why do I need to read some guy’s blog to get a live play-by-play update?
What it’s transforming us into are people that can’t do our own research and rely too much on what we can find sitting in front of a computer screen. We don’t even need televisions or telephones anymore. After all, we can watch just about anything online and any instant chat is just as convenient as a phone.
Is the Internet rewiring our brains? Is it doing the thinking for us? Are our communication skills suffering because of this useful tool that people can’t live without?
And our next generation is the worst — take our intern Erin for example. Here I was, at the Local, trying to get a good laugh. We were planning a trip to go snipe hunting, which I thought would have been an excellent story for Erin to write about when she returned from the adventure. Sure, snipes are hard to find, and she probably would not have caught any, but it would have been a fun trip nonetheless. I envisioned her walking around the trees, holding open a bag and making funny noises to catch the “elusive” flying bird.
But my visions vanished when Erin snuck off to a computer to Google snipe hunting. Talk about convenience becoming an inconvenience.
I had her convinced but, apparently, Google had to go and screw things up by letting her in on the secret that snipe hunting is a made-up story, wild goose chase that’s a practical joke for newcomers — that darn Google search engine. Who would have ever thought to Google “snipe hunting” anyways?
Now, thanks to the Internet, you can find out anything you want, whenever you want, at the cost of all jokes. What are we becoming? With the next generation right behind us, it’s actually scary to think about.
What? Tiger Woods won? Sorry, I had to check ESPN.com for the latest scores.
Tommie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.