Thursday, December 24, 2009

Internets, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways...

Every so often it hits me that the young'uns around here don't remember the days before the internet. That just floors me. My daughter has no recollection of a day before email. By the time she was 6 or 7, computers were a part of our lives.
Does anyone even remember DOS? I still have nightmares about the UniVac mainframe that was part of my job as a police dispatcher back in the late 70's. It was a blank screen with a blinking cursor. The Home key, and the Escape key were very important. I still distinctly remember the day that I spent 6 hours entering a stolen car with a boat and boat trailer - only to recieve a call that it had been found. Then having to remove it.
It isn't like it was all that long ago, and yet in a handful of years, everything changed. It's remarkable, really.
When my sister and I started in business during the early 90's, I can remember spending a day or two sitting and writing notes to different suppliers, requesting catalogs and sales sheets. Some we phoned. In order to find new suppliers, we needed to go to the New York Gift Show, and comb through the bazillion booths in order to find a few that were relevant to our business. It was grueling - and fun. We got to meet some amazing people. But everything was slower. Much slower. Orders were placed over the telephone, or later the fax.

Staying in touch with friends was also more deliberate and it took more time. Sometimes it was phone calls, sometimes letters - and sometimes we just lost track of each other, tossed around by the winds like seeds from a maple tree.

Without the internet, it would be impossible for an independent magazine to exist and prosper (at least for me). How would the word get out? How would the articles arrive? Oh, the typing involved, and then I couldn't even email the file to the printer!

Now I will run into friends and they will tell me that they keep up with me by reading the blog (HI!). I am always aware of that as I write, and sometimes picture a myriad of faces while tapping away on the keys. Some are faces that I've never seen, and only make up to match the personality I've come to know as a cyber friend. Seriously, folks... would you have believed that 20 years ago? Certainly in the beginning there was a dearth of civility, as people tore into each other on forums and established pecking orders. It seemed that the internet would be a harsh place, and yet we've learned to use it more gently over the years. Looking at that evolution, we progressed very rapidly, thank goodness!

I've finally gotten a cellphone, but can never remember to take it with me anywhere. I've never sent a text message. Dragging my feet, I just don't know how many sea changes I can handle in a decade. I mean, I still remember telephones that were on party-lines. Oh oh... before I wind up sounding WAY too much like Andy Rooney, I will wrap this up!


Luschka said...

It is truly amazing. My two and a half month old daughter smiled at my mother over Skype (internet video phone) yesterday. There is my mother, a 12 hour flight away, and she can share daily in the little things as my little girl grows. It's amazing, a treasure and I for one am grateful for it. Happy Christmas to you - perhaps next year, you can learn to text? Hope it's a good one!

John said...

Doesn't DOS come after Uno, but before Tres?

tansy said...

i don't text either. but i am grateful for the virtual world. i have met so many like minded and terrific people such as YOU! because of the www.

i wouldn't be in business either if it didn't exist. scary thought.

Tina Sams said...

I often think about how many really cool people wouldn't be a part of my life without the internet too, K. Thank goodness for this opportunity! And yeah, business was so difficult before.

Bridgett said...

When I was in elementary school, we had those huge Apple computer monstrosities, but no internet.

Thank Goddess for all the internet has provided us. It's an amazing thing.