Why I Love the Internet (well, mostly)

Here’s why I love the Internet: my 10-year-old son said the other day that if someone from the past suddenly materialized in the modern world, he’d be shocked at how many wires are strung up all over the place–phone and electric and cable, etc.  That made me think of this great R. Crumb drawing where he shows a single street corner and how it changes over the decades from bucolic and calm to ugly and urban.  I ran to my computer.

Within seconds, I had an image of the drawing to show Will, who loved it so much that we ordered a cheap poster version within another minute or two.

You couldn’t do that back when I was a kid.  It’s not just the instant gratification–it’s also the instant information.

It’s much easier to sound smart now.  I wanted to reference a poem in a Facebook status recently.  My memory was that it went, “There is something that doesn’t love a fence.”  I couldn’t remember which American poet it was.  So I typed in that sentence and somehow Google got me to Frost (duh) and “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall.”  If I’d written it the way I’d first remembered it, I’d have looked really stupid.  I looked much smarter thanks to Google.

Another reason to love the ‘Net?  Brain Pop–if you have kid and you don’t know Brain Pop, you need to check it out.  Amazing little videos about every interesting subject under the sun.  If my kids are home sick, I don’t worry about their missing school so long as they spend time on Brain Pop.  I worry even less if they watch TED talks, which are these amazing talks by scientists doing the most astonishing, mind-blowing work: a world of fascinating information free for the taking.

Here’s a bit of irony for you though: when I started writing this post, it was going to be an unabashed fan letter to the Internet and how amazing it is.  But I wanted to doublecheck that Frost quote (yep, still worried about looking stupid) so I Googled it and went to a website that had the poem.  A “You’ve won a prize, just click here!” pop-up appeared and I couldn’t see any way to get rid of it without clicking on it which I knew I didn’t want to do.  So I had to force quit Safari–and I lost my entire first draft of this post.

And that is what I hate about the Internet.

Oh, also it’s destroying the music and book industries.  There’s that too.

And Facebook is the most evil time-suck that ever existed.  Yes, I kind of love it.  I also kind of hate it.

But I can’t stay mad at the ‘Net.  I love you, you crazy big accessible world of instant information you!


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