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StarlessEclipse

Was life better without the Internet?

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Max000
On 2/27/2019 at 8:33 PM, 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?

My life is way better with it. As a matter fact, it is about the only good thing I can think of that has come about in my lifetime. Everything else just gets worse. The internet is the one bright spot. Before the internet I just wasted a lot of time watching TV. Which except for watching documentaries, was totally unfulfilling.  I could go to the library and do research there, but the amount of materials for my interests was limited. With the internet I don't even need to go to a library. Which is a good thing, because the libraries near me now, are a complete joke.  The internet gives me all the information and social interaction that I need. It's the best thing that has ever happened to mankind, IMHO. 👍

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Max000
On 2/28/2019 at 2:37 PM, HalfFull said:

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.

I was never really interested in reading books, except reference books for research purposes. So that is not a problem for me. Listening to CDs is also not an issue. I have downloaded more music from the internet that I could ever have afforded. I have almost 10,000 songs on my computer. If I bought all that music on CDs it would have probably cost me $40,000 or $50,000, which I just don't have. But I'm actually getting back into collecting CDs anyway. I've started buying used CDs to fill in some of the holes in my collection, and replace some of my lower quality MP3s. But without the internet, I would have a far smaller music collection, and probably wouldn't even know about a lot of the artists that I now love. Not watching sitcoms is not a negative, in my opinion. I'm sorry but sitcoms are the worst brain rot that has ever been created, right down to the fake laugh tracks telling you when to laugh. 😒 As for playing board games and such, I can play computer games when I want that type of entertainment. I am lacking getting out in nature enough, but that is more economics. I really need to replace my Honda Civic with an SUV, so I can get away from the tourist spots and into the backcountry, where I can enjoy nature more. I suppose if I didn't have internet I would be more motivated to get that done and get out more, but I would still be limited by lack of money for it. So I don't think the internet is really my problem there. As for spending time with people, I doubt I would be spending more time with people, if I didn't have internet. In addition to not spending time with people, I wouldn't be interacting with people online. I think that would be worse. 

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StarlessEclipse

My own relationship with the Internet has changed a lot since I first started using it heavily at the age of fourteen. On the upside, it opened me up to new ideas and opportunities for friendship I wouldn't otherwise have had, and at times desperately needed. There was a profoundly miserable period of my life six years ago when knowing that I could talk to most people, but especially one person here on Asperclick was about the only thing that kept me going. I don't know what would have become of me without it. However, it must also be said that I only found Asperclick after being maliciously hounded off of and abandoned by a now defunct Aspie forum by a probable sociopath now known to have victimised several others, including in one alleged case to the point of suicide. Had I been an even more vulnerable person, that could have ended very differently.

It's been in the years since my worst mental health and life crisis ended that the unfortunate impact of the web has become more apparent, particularly in the emergence of the culture war, identity politics and outrage mobs, the rise of the alt-right in response, the devaluation of civil discourse, the normalisation of political violence, intimidation and censorship, despicable mainstream media smear and misinformation campaigns capitalised on by self-serving conspiracy theorists... I could go on.

From around the middle of 2014 to the beginning of 2018, I went through an intense phase of researching and discussing politics, theology and moral philosophy. I made many mistakes, learned a lot, adopted and discarded a litany of ideological positions, and like to think I've grown as a result, though you lot can be the judge of that. The trouble is that it also revealed to me a human capacity for dishonesty, hatred, greed, heartlessness, manipulation, mindless conformity, self-delusion, and straight-up ludicrous irrationality I never in my darkest nightmares imagined could be so widespread, and it's thoroughly depressing. Frankly, I miss being more naïvely optimistic about human nature. Sometimes ignorance really is bliss. I'm aware that none of this stuff is a direct result of the Internet, but for better or worse, the veil has been lifted in a way that it previously wouldn't have been.

Due to my own experience, I react with fury and disgust at the suggestion of smartphones being banned from mainstream schools, an environment I likely wouldn't have survived without the lifeline of support certain people on this forum gave me, yet I do sometimes wonder how much peace of mind the web has irretrievably cost me in the years since. Then again, is peace of mind dependent on ignorance and naïvety something worth protecting? I think not, but I'm still unsure of how to find contentment in its absence.

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

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.

And those that depend on income from album sales won't want there to be a way of listening to those albums wherever, whenever without buying a copy. You never said you needed to listen to a whole album before buying it, just at least 50% of tracks.

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Nesf
17 hours ago, Myrtonos said:

And those that depend on income from album sales won't want there to be a way of listening to those albums wherever, whenever without buying a copy. You never said you needed to listen to a whole album before buying it, just at least 50% of tracks.

Some do, some don't. On Youtube, there may be illegal videos of copyrighted material, but on bandcamp, it is the artists who put the music there for people to listen to. Generally speaking, artists want to be heard. Artists need exposure and publicity, and the way to get this in the digital age is not through radio, but through platforms like YouTube or Bandcamp. They know the value of making some, if not all of their music available for people to sample. It leads to more publicity and sales of music, and more crucially, concert tickets. Because that's where the money is these days, in gigs/concerts and merchandise, not so much in music sales.

I have a large collection of both physical and digital copies albums that I have downloaded or streamed before buying, so I am living proof that the availability of music online to listen to or stream, including whole albums, can directly lead to sales of the album.

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Aeolienne
On 2/28/2019 at 10:37 PM, HalfFull said:

The downside however is that we're 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. It's like some of us meet more new people but maybe spend less time with family and close friends.

For some people the internet has opened up new possibilities for learning and playing music. Many members of the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq had learned to play their instruments via YouTube tutorials, as related in 'Upbeat' by Paul MacAlindin. And the composer Eric Whitacre has done experiments with virtual choirs.

 

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Dr-David-Banner

Sadly there is big problem you would not notice unless you'd grown up in the 1970s and 80s. People today are being dominated by a technology that excludes them. Whereas decades ago people thrived on being a part of technology - not just a consumer. Locally we had a Tandy store where they sold kits and projects. We had Mecano too which was brilliant for doing engineering. These days I don't see the net being used educationally. What I see is awful. Kids playing games and glued to a mobile phone. Conversations forced on everyone else. When one stops, another rings. I would like to say "someone" uses the net educationally but the truth is only one woman I know uses it for college work. Now back in the 90s it was much more positive. People were doing courses in web design and many of the forums were good to be on. Even Ebay was laid back. So, I have now had serious misgivings for some time and gradually I see others asking similar questions. Even Prince Harry came out stated he feels computer games and phones are dumbing down a generation. The press is highlighting the way large web chains are hooking up kids or even exposing some to risk. So my guess is sooner or later something will change. I think really the rot started with cable TV when more junk programs started to turn viewers into couch potatoes. We only used to have three stations but quality was higher. You even had Open University. 

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Dr-David-Banner

Logic suggests we ought to really consider how environment can influence the individual. I think social media these days is included in "environment". Some years ago I took the decision to ditch TV and instead limited myself to DVD movies. I had gotten tired of so much negativity on TV and felt the negativity was rubbing off. With DVDs I could watch better media - even older movies. The point is though we all know if you eat just junk food, you get fat and listless. If you eat good, home cooked food, it impacts positively. Environmentally, all you hear on the media day in and day out will subconsciously program the mind to think like everyone else. Most people are easily influenced and want to fit in with others, be the same and so on. If that isn't true then how come religion varies from country? Well, each culture grafts its beliefs and ideals to the individual. The internet can enhance this process 100 times! Not that the net in itself is bad but I think they call it "Social Media" for a good reason. Most net use today is social and about society. The focus is social interaction. Many will make the point that if a person lacks social skills or dating skills, the net can help in that area. OK, maybe there are cases of that but my ten years of experience on forums indicates to me autistic people experience the same social issues online as in real life. I have had in the past three instances of hostility online and one case of stalking (not on Asperclick). These days I use the net more educationally or I may watch old Ali fights on YouTube or anything of interest. For languages it is useful or for medical info or DIY. What bothers me though is as I stated, most people I see use the internet as social media but much of the content is as bad as junk cable TV. At least from what I witness personally. I won't get into the economic aspect but net commerce and staffing online has, as we know, led to closure of offices, banks and scores of shops. Personally I would prefer to just buy from a shop and view stuff. When Maplins closed last year I was really disappointed as now I can't buy stuff I need the same day.

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Dr-David-Banner

I now find I am not the only one to be getting rid of Google. As a search engine I find it tries to be too clever by "suggesting" searches and apparently blocking manual over-ride. So if I wanted to find "Titanic expedition" I will instead get suggestions such as "Titanic dvd" and have to reload the whole page and start again. Very annoying so I went back to Yahoo. Other people tell me they are annoyed with Google. Another thing I notice is many news sites are blocked. They don't display. Just as bad you get demands on all sites to enable cookies so they can send spam or profile advertising. This is what happens when new teams tinker with software and assume net users don't prefer simplicity and reliability. Fortunately Yahoo is not too bad and for now it is allowing me to just search manually and showing enough results.

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