Mr. Scott Goldstone
October 14th, 2014
The Enticing Spider web
How productive can we be if we stopped using the Internet for one whole week? Unfortunately, we would not get very far. The Internet assists us in so many ways that we now depend on it for almost everything we do. Whether we make online banking transactions, buy products from our favorite store, or search for the best version of a traditional recipe, we often consult the internet to make it through the day. There is no longer the need to go to the library, to the movie theater, or to the department stores; almost anything can be done without leaving the comfort of our love seat. As much as the Internet facilitates our day-to-day life, as it provides us with time-saving resources and limitless information, the excessive use of the Internet can weaken our relationships with others and cause us to become less active both physically and intellectually.
The Internet has a great deal of resources that help us in our daily obligations like taking care of the bills, looking up directions to the doctor’s office, and going grocery shopping with just a click of a button. Many online services save us time and energy, such as online banking and online shopping. Instead of walking to the bank and waiting in line, transactions can be managed on the bank’s website. If a problem were to occur, customer service representatives are reachable 24/7 through a chatroom. Electronic commerce is another popular online service that has gotten a great deal of attention. Online stores, like Amazon or Ebay, have been set up so that people can easily navigate through a variety of products, pay with a credit card from a securitized anti-fraud system, and have the product delivered in less than three days. We can also benefit from the different modalities of communication, such as Facebook, AOL Messenger, Twitter and Yahoo, which allow us to easily interact with our family, friends and co-workers.
Certainly, online telecommunication has made it easier to keep in touch with our loved ones, but it is by no means comparable to conversing with someone within arm’s reach. When interchanging emails, one may determine how another person is feeling by his or her choice of words and punctuation marks. On the other hand, words only reveal a small part about someone’s personality, as opposed to physical gestures which reveal tacit behavior. Eye contact, body posture and facial expressions are all cues that help us get intimately acquainted with each other. However, those gestures are unperceivable in the world of online chatrooms, unless a webcam is implemented. Skype is an online service that enables video and voice phone calls with people in any corner of the world. In turn, webcams may strengthen relationships with family and friends who live abroad. I have a ten year old sister who lives in France and since the cost for most international calls are so high, I resort to video communication. Thanks to Skype, I can see her more often, despite the fact that she is thousands of miles away.
There is another aspect of online communication that is deemed pleasant by many people: the comfort of hiding behind a screen. Most online dating sites exist because of their impersonal nature, as two persons become acquainted through an interactive chatroom until they are ready to see each other for the first time. Although the virtual separation provides comfort, it can also be very misleading, especially when the tone or the meaning of a message is misinterpreted. Conversely, there is more risk and more vulnerability when conversing face to face with someone, mainly because it is harder to conceal our feelings. Nowadays, people tend to spend a lot of time and effort creating an online profile that portrays not who they really are, but how they want to be seen by others. Although virtual profiles do not accurately portray the actual self; there is an apparent distinction between…