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StarlessEclipse

Was life better without the Internet?

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StarlessEclipse

Just a simple question for those of you old enough to have lived a portion of your adult life without home Internet access.

Do you believe that the impact of the Internet upon your life overall has been positive, neutral, or negative? Why?

Edited by StarlessEclipse

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Myrtonos

First of all, what does "internet" mean in this case, just the web or also including email?

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Nesf

Positive, due to increased access to information, easy and instant communication and the work opportunities I now have. Before the days of the internet, if I wanted to research something, I would have to go to a public library and look for books. If I wanted or needed to communicate with family abroad, I would have no other choice than to phone (this used to be very expensive, especially long distance calls), or write a letter. Now I can communicate instantly and cheaply by email or via the social media. If I wanted to listen to music, to discover new music or listen to a certain song, I'd have to wait for it to be played on a radio channel, or buy it. One had no way of listening to an album in advance to see if one liked it or not and wanted to buy. Now, sites like YouTube or Bandcamp offer the possibility of listening to and discovering new music without having to buy it first. I can also watch films or documentaries online via streaming, something that just wasn't possible before the internet and creation of the World Wide Web, one had to buy or hire videos, and before that, just watch whatever was on TV or at the cinema. Also, I have access to products and services from all over the globe online, whereas before, if I needed to buy something specific or unusual, I would have to go out to find a shop that sells it.

On the other hand, what you find on the internet is not necesarily of good quality or worth having, and it's becoming increasingly hard to filter out the wheat from the chaff. To find one decent piece of music, I have to go through another 10 or bad or mediocre quality. To find one useful or relevant article, I need to read another 15 articles. There's a lot of good stuff, but there's also a huge amount of trivia and disinformation. Having the internet does not not necessarily mean that one is better informed, more knowledgeable or educated. I believe that the internet has lead to a more liberal society, more choice, more exposure to new ideas, but also more public access means everything has a tendency to be brought down to the lowest common denominator, hence the huge amount of banal trivia floating around. The internet is a tool that can be used for good or for bad, and what you get out of it depends on how you are going to use it. The internet gives access to anything you could possibly want, but also everything you could possibly not want, including its misuse by criminals, cooperations and governments.

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Peridot

Positive!

Talking to nice people and downloading oodles of p*rn!

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RiRi
15 hours ago, Myrtonos said:

First of all, what does "internet" mean in this case, just the web or also including email?

Without Internet, email would not exist. So Internet just means the web, access to email, forums, etc. 

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RiRi

While, I could find ways to argue that the Internet has been a good thing, I could also argue against that. I do think it has brought good and bad things but if I had to choose, I'd say life would be better off without the Internet. At least that is my opinion right now. For one, some people would not tell you certain things that they would otherwise not have the guts to say in person because it's rude and mean. 

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HalfFull

There is a mixture. In a way I think it both opens up and closes off the world at the same time. For example, you might go out less because you're on the internet, and I believe a lot of social skills have been lost because people don't face their initial fears of face-to-face contact as much so may be less used to dealing with strangers. On the other hand, things are often sorted out more quickly and we can find things out so easily and get to connect with so many great people with something in common with us. Come to think of it, without the Internet I'd only really have really met the local Aspies, which where I used to live would have been maybe about half a dozen people (i.e. those who want to meet people). Without the Internet, I wouldn't have moved to where I live now and wouldn't have met my last two partners. I also wouldn't have worked for my previous employer, where I was for 12 years. The downside however is that were not instead reading books, listening to CDs, watching sitcoms, playing board games, having a natter (I know not all Aspies like that though), playing an instrument, playing table tennis or getting out in nature. Its like some of us meet more new people but maybe spend less time with family and close friends.

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Sanctuary

The internet is a kind of tool and like any kind of tool it can be used positively or negatively but in principle - like any tool - it has the capacity to be useful. Similar arguments could be applied to mobile phones, radio and television and to other aspects of life such as cars, electricity and gas power. With all these things we can argue that people managed without them before they were invented but once people have started to use them they then struggle to do without. There are of course still people (mainly older people but some who are younger) who have never used the internet and have no interest in doing so. There are a very few people who don't own a TV or radio and a larger number who don't have a car. However societies develop in ways that those who don't have these things - even if it's through their own choice - become "outsiders". This is not necessarily because they are treated as outcasts but just because they find it harder to engage with the culture of the large majority who do use these things, e.g. consider the confused and even shocked reaction when a person says they don't have a TV. We're not at that stage yet (but are approaching it among younger people) with the internet. It becomes embedded in our culture, just as TV, radio, mobile phones, cars, etc. have been already.

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Myrtonos
14 hours ago, RiRi said:

Without Internet, email would not exist. So Internet just means the web, access to email, forums, etc. 

I was asking @StarlessEclipse about what he meant? And forums like this are also (on) websites. And the first email systems were not internet based. Before the internet could be used by the general public, it was possible to send email to another client of the same online service provider, such as America Online, CompuServe and Verizon. But the internet also allowed transfer of email between clients of different online services.

At that time, all email addresses were non-free, as far as I know, there were all I.S.P based. Free email addresses first arrived in 1996, see here. Is there anyone here who still has a non-free personal email address?

On 2/28/2019 at 9:31 PM, Nesf said:

I can also watch films or documentaries online via streaming, something that just wasn't possible before the internet and creation of the World Wide Web, one had to buy or hire videos, and before that, just watch whatever was on TV or at the cinema.

Note that none of this was possible in the 1990s, and the web already existed back then.

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Charlie Brown
On 2/28/2019 at 4:33 AM, StarlessEclipse said:

Just a simple question for those of you old enough to have lived a portion of your adult life without home Internet access.

Do you believe that the impact of the Internet upon your life overall has been positive, neutral, or negative? Why?

The internet introduced me to a freedom I hadn't known, so yes it was, and continues to be, a positive force in my life. Things that were science fiction as a child are now part of my daily reality.

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