A reality without internet? For sure less news and maybe a class reunion
Posted by morkj2440
In her 2016 textbook, “Superconnected: The Internet, Digital Media, and Techno-Social Life,”, Mary Chayko posed the question to readers, “how would your life be different if technology available today were not?” I am going to explore that hypothetical as best I can.
One of the more prolific opportunities the internet provides me is instant access to news worldwide. Daily I spend at least 90 minutes reading news from a variety of sources. CBS News is my go-to, although this tendency is slowly transitioning to Reuters. I then move on and scan various newspapers. I first check my local ones, the Winona Daily News and the La Crosse Tribune. Then the nearby metro newspapers: the Wisconsin State Journal, the Journal Sentinel and the Pioneer Press. Most of the time, since the Winona, La Crosse and Madison newspapers are all the same publisher, checking just one allows me to see major pieces from all three. Then some days I check the Duluth News Tribune or The Seattle Times or the Appleton Post Crescent. I do the same type of journey with local television news. Lately, WGN has caught my attention. I find them interesting since they are somewhat of an anomaly not being associated with the big four: CBS, ABC, NBC or FOX.
If the internet did not supply me with my variety of news options, my interest in news may not exist. If it still did, it would be very difficult for me to cover as many news options. For one, it would be impossible to access local news outside of my region. WGN is a nationally-syndicated network, so I would be able to watch their news, but WISN out of Milwaukee (a four hour drive away) would be inaccessible. So would KOMO News out of Seattle. With print news, I would have to have subscriptions and my mailbox would be filled every morning.
My high school class and I are an example Chayko could’ve used when discussing her own 2014 research. In it she determined the use of internet, digital, and mobile technologies makes face-to-face interaction more likely to occur rather than deter. Additionally, those who use the internet and digital media most often are those who stay in closest contact with their friends face-to-face. My high school class of 2001 used Facebook in order to reconnect and plan our class reunions. Thanks to it, approximately 32 out of 39 of us were able to connect (I had to quickly go into the Facebook group and count the members). Still using Facebook, we were able to discuss gathering options, location options, contingencies and the like. We are even able to pay one another through Facebook for party costs. Despite our small size, Jessica in England is able to remain an active class president. Mark in Maryland stayed connected and also returned to Wisconsin for our reunions. We were even able to get Evan, Katie and Nick, to attend. All three were longtime classmates but left our high school and graduated elsewhere, and Facebook allowed us to connect.
Were it not for Facebook, our class reunions and irregular communication would be much more difficult. Jessica would be spending considerably more money on postage and I can’t even imagine how you might track people down without the internet. Perhaps send letters to classmates’ parents and ask for their mailing information? Discussing options for a party, such as a location and activities, would be daunting and take a considerable amount of time.
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