It’s finally happened. A recent survey by Forrester Research, Inc. has shown that the past five years, the amount of time Americans spend on the internet has doubled and now ties with the television in actual hours spent doing both. While I’d love to get on a soap box and be able to say “what has happened to the old days when we actually did more physical activity” – I really can’t say that. Those that read this blog know the most activity I get is walking from my car to my office desk. Yes, as I child I would go outside and play in the yard with the neighborhood kids, but I also can name you just about every television show from the 70s, proving that I spent many an hour in front of the big box as well. And now, as an adult – I am always on the internet. (I’m there now typing this blog.) I do my banking online. I do shopping. I interact with family and friends. I buy theatre and concert tickets. I get my news sent to me on my iPhone before I ever hear it on the evening television news. I research numerous topics for stories and books that I write.
While the survey shows the two in a tie, I’d probably have to say that I spend more hours on the internet than I do in front of the TV. Technology has truly changed our lives. I spent thirteen years in Corp America – in the IT department - creating computer applications to assist others in doing their jobs more thoroughly. I can recall my first computer and waiting for the dial-modem to connect. Now I get impatient if it takes more than 2 seconds for a page to load. And it’s hard to even think of a time before cell phones. 21 years ago today, my oldest niece was born and I was at a production of The Nutcracker in NYC. But there was no cell phone in my pocket on vibrate waiting for a call. I was going to an actual pay phone checking in to see if she had arrived and actually called Texas at intermission to talk to my sister.
Our lives have changed so much over the past twenty years. It’s sometimes mind-boggling to think of how quickly it has all gone. Makes me think that watching Buck Rogers in the 25th Century and all those movies “set in the distant future” back when I was a child really wasn't that far a stretch. Every day technology takes us one step closer to that reality. What we used to call the information superhighway is a very, very busy place that more and more of my generation is finding a place to cruise rather than getting in a car and going somewhere. (And at the gas prices today: who could afford the drive?)