To be honest, in the nineteen nineties I spent a considerable time each day online. I was home with four children, one of whom was a baby. The internet allowed me to research curricula for homeschooling, download educational and entertainment for my children, and to stay in touch with friends who were similarly encumbered at home. The internet was instrumental in my finding part time work which meshed with my responsibilities at home. It also allowed me to keep up with a considerable amount of medical continuing education with a minimal impact to everything I needed to do at home.
After two thousand, I continued using it a great deal. It can be an excellent research tool even when the information you have derived is anecdotal. It can, in those events, help you to formulate plans and identify areas in which more genuine study is required. The internet has also provided me from time to time, the chance to correspond with true leaders and front and center individuals in fields in which I have an interest. It also became an excellent adjunct in home schooling and aided our children in research while selecting their universities. When I taught college, the internet allowed me to achieve much more in a short period of time.
I noticed recently that people have started telephoning me at home again. In fact, what I noticed is that my voice mail was full on a couple of occasions. One of them told me, "I know you haven't been online as much". Well, this is true. Although I embraced Linkedin some time ago, and at one time I owned a number of Yahoo Groups, I have never been a member of Facebook. I dislike the potential for breeches in family security, and I don't like their terms of service. Yes, I actually read those. It's fairly easy simply to read about someone on Facebook and actually compile quite a dossier on them, if you wished to. I don't have the time to Twitter incessantly, although a few of my friends do. Some of my kids have used Instagram. I like Blogger, but a lot of the social media platforms have a great deal of chatter, but are not necessarily interesting or valuable to me.
For a time I virtually abandoned the television and only obtained news online. Lately, I have found that a great deal of online news is simply incorrect, inaccurate, or massaged to advance a particular agenda, particularly when it's something I personally know a good deal about. The other reason I am spending less time online is that there is a great deal of communication hostility. Time online used to be fun. There have always been trolls online, but now, even on Linkedin, it can be difficult to express an opinion on anything without being stalked for a time by someone, using their actual name or a pseudonym, who needs you to fall in line with their opinion. They plan to harass you until you fall in line. I cannot recall a time in the past where your having an opinion which differed even slightly from someone elses was a cause for such attention, particularly when I don't really have unusual views.
I know that my publisher has always wished I would embrace social media whole hog. I honestly can't see that happening. What I see is more and more people pulling out of living their lives and failing to make needed changes in their real lives. More and more people live almost a half life online. I have friends who photograph all their meals and place them online. I am not saying that their recipe for meatloaf is not online worthy. I am saying that I don't know who needs to see their entire diet plus snacks including their calorie counts, which are off, by the way. I also see that while people join online groups, they tend to join groups with the like-minded. This way, the delusional reinforce themselves, the progressives reinforce themselves, etc. No one is getting better in their persuasive arguments with one another. Too many times, their interactions with others is highly charged, emotional, and not well considered.
I don't know what the long term effects to society, our culture and the world will ultimately be, but I am guessing that it's not good. I also don't think that an unnatural dependence upon the cyber world is confined to millennials. There are plenty of people of every age whose interactions with people are almost exclusively online. The internet is a tool, and it is indeed a promising one. However, we need to be more carefully considering how we use it personally. The online acrimony is likely to worsen in an election year, as are the inaccurate news reports. If it does, you may not see me online for awhile. I'll just be at an undisclosed location working on a novel.