One of those thoughts that rocks me back on my heels is that one day I’m going to have to explain to my kids that I didn’t always have the internet. That somehow society managed to function before that.
It’s the way of technology, exponentially increasing while leaving the recent past as ancient as mummies in the desert. I’ve always wondered how different my college years would’ve been if there had been the high tech there is today. I don’t consider 1994 to be super-old, but depending on your age and perspective, perhaps it is. In any case, when I first went there, my college had only gotten phone lines in dorm rooms five years prior. There was no internet to speak of, at least on our campus. Heck, we thought we were cutting-edge because every freshman in ’94 got a bulky laptop that ran Windows 3.1. Our music was from radios, cassette decks, and giant multi-disc CD changers. Past that, most of our daily life was free of high technology.
For me, I consider it a blessing. It forced me to hang out with others, go on adventures, and generally not be concerned with emails and Twitter and all of the daily high-tech minutiae that dominates today. I was extremely introverted in high school, and college helped me develop a more balanced lifestyle that carries on to today. Plus, I can’t imagine if I had to deal with MMOs on top of college courses — I think I may have failed out.
It’s interesting to look back to that era, because it’s when the internet and the WWW made inroads in our campus. Because our basic laptops had no great modem to speak of, all of our internet work was done from our computer center (which still brought us together, in physical proximity, at least). It’s there that I started writing my first web sites, where I discovered online chatting, where my roommate and I waited for a half-hour for the Phantom Menace trailer to download, where I got sucked into emails and online forums, and so on. Yet online gaming never registered for me during that time, and even going into 1999, most of what I played was my PlayStation console.
I think my college self would be astounded if the me of today showed up and talked about all of the advantages we have — wifi, ebooks, MMOs, online shopping, instant news, smartphones, lime Coke. But I think I would be a little jealous looking back as well. Kind of makes me want to dig out my old Magic cards and read a physical book, it does.