Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Internet generation

It's not a rare occurance that I stop and ask myself, "How in the world did I get by without the Internet?"

For something that has only been available to the masses for about 10 years, the Internet has had such a gigantic effect on our every day lives that sometimes I have to take a step back and wonder if I'm too dependent upon something I'd never even heard of as recently as 1993.

According to a CNN poll, I'm joined by thousands of fellow Americans who find themselves drawn to the World Wide Web on a daily basis. Only 1 percent of more than 20,000 people who have taken the poll say they go online "weekly" ... another 1 percent say they are online "infrequently." For the rest of us, the Internet is part of our daily routines. For me, it's practically an hourly visit.

The one thing that really grabs me is the Internet's effect on schools and students. If you think about it, in high school, research papers were done the old-fashioned way. I spent hours at the downtown library searching for books in the card catalog. Once I found the books I was looking for, I slogged through page upon page of crap until I found one or two sentences I could pull to add to my work.

In college that all changed - and practically overnight. Suddenly I had a wealth of information at my fingertips. With a few clicks of my mouse I could read information in major research journals and find people all over the world to talk to about any given topic. I was in heaven - studying/writing took half the time, and I loved it.

Now I'm less reliant upon the Internet for practical purposes, but I feel like I'm using it more and more. In the last week I've gone online to search for a myriad of things ... a restaurant menu, ticket prices, a game or two during downtime, apartments, celebrity news (yes, I'm guilty), my favorite blogs and what would I do without my sacred e-mail account?!?

It's just amazing to me how dependent upon my computer I've become, and how grouchy I can get if I have trouble connecting to a Web site. I'm just waiting for chapters of Online-aholics Anonymous to start popping up across the United States for people like me.

Hello, my name is Stacey, and I'm an Internet addict.