Over the past couple of days, our Wifi has been very stubborn. We’ve had little or no internet connection – quite literally, because after occasional five-minute bursts of life, it would die again, leaving us with no choice but to go without it. The fact that I’m writing this post shows we’ve now got it back (apparently something needed to be “restored”, which sounds like a fancy way of saying “we just turned it off and on again”), but it got me thinking about just how often we do use the internet – even when we don’t really need it.
Don’t assume that I’m some sort of technophobe. Although it does cause some people trouble, I personally believe that the pros of the internet far outweigh the cons. If it didn’t exist, neither would this blog, or my Facebook, Twitter and QuizUp accounts, or any of the other huge sites we might be lost (or bored) without. All of the little projects I work on in my spare time might have been dead in the water, because I wouldn’t have been as well informed if I couldn’t have emailed friends for feedback or read a useful article. Even so, it can dominate to such an extent that we don’t even realise it, and therefore instinctively reach for our computers, smartphones or tablets (what an inspired purchase my Kindle was).
This afternoon, Toy Story was on TV. I’ve seen and loved it a million times, as have most people, but during this particular viewing I noticed something interesting that I hadn’t in a while. Just over halfway through the film, I realised how much more engaged I was this time. I saw little, insignificant things in certain scenes that had never ever occurred to me before, and I concluded that it must have been because I didn’t have the Kindle to distract me. I’m guessing that on the last few occasions my eyes were just drifting from one screen to another and that I wasn’t paying proper attention. I know I’m sometimes guilty of that when I watch other things, even those I really love, but it might just mean that I’m a product of my time, craving more and more gratification from the wonderful World Wide Web. Without a continuous internet connection, which I probably take for granted, I’ll admit that I felt a bit destitute, quite literally disconnected or cut adrift. It was like being Tom Hanks in Cast Away. OK, so maybe I’m exaggerating, but now I know that I should probably take one screen at a time – just every now and then!