Today’s Daily Prompt is Life After Blogs. What would our lives be like without computers? Well, I’m old enough to remember a time where households typically lacked computers. When I was little, it was considered a punishment to have to play Oregon Trail inside while your class was out at recess. I spent many afternoons with the Apple IIs.
In middle school, my parents bought a Packard Bell computer that was fully equipped with Prodigy Internet. (Cue the loud dial-up noise.) All I remember was going into various chat rooms and pretending to be the Backstreet Boys, causing members of the room to get really upset with me. Ah, the early days of trolling.
By the time high school rolled around, we had advanced to AOL, with Gmail coming along around the end of my college days. (Facebook was also a thing by then, too.) Today, it’s hard to imagine life without the wealth of human knowledge at my fingertips. It’s nice to be able to keep in touch with people around the world. Also, two words: Amazon Prime.
Without computers, though, things would regress back to older times. We’d ask for directions, having to pull over at gas stations to find out the best way to get to our destination. I’d never leave the house again, given my horrible sense of direction.
At work, we’d have to go to the trouble of talking to our coworkers face-to-face instead of sending a quick email. I don’t necessarily consider this a bad thing. Sometimes I’m much more inclined to interact with people “in real life.” But I’d have to communicate with all my columnists (who live all over the country) via telephone even for minor corrections, which would likely annoy them and diminish my productivity.
Malls would still be the place to be in town, since we wouldn’t be able to order things online. It’s funny, when I was younger going to the mall was an exciting prospect. Now I run in, get what I need, and exit as soon as possible.
Most importantly, we wouldn’t have Google. Anything you want to know, it’s there. (I would also mention Bing, but does anyone actually use Bing?) Picture me shaking my cane as I say this: When I was in school, we had to look things up in the encyclopedia for our research papers. I remember getting stacks of books from the library about weather for my sixth-grade project. That project could have been completed with a few Google searches nowadays.
In the “old days,” journalists had to look things up in almanacs and dictionaries when checking sources. Today, I’ve got Google and the AP Stylebook online. It usually takes a minute or two to verify a source or other bit of information.
However, with all that information comes plenty of opportunity for misinformation. No matter what your point of view, there are websites filled with information (true or not) that will back up your beliefs. How many times have you groaned over your crazy relative or old classmate posting completely false information on social media?
I know many people who are absolute tyrants online, but completely docile when you meet with them face to face. It’s easy to hide behind a screen. Without computers, would we be able to engage in social discourse in a civilized fashion?
Ultimately, I believe our lives have been made for the better with computers. I don’t want to go back to simpler times — do you?