We have just emerged from a near 24 hour Internet outage here. I'd love to say we came through unscathed, but that's hardly the case. It's like your train leaving from the station, as you watch it go. Funny how the entire world has evolved to embrace the technology.
Our ancestors pretty much lived and died within 25 miles of the place they were born. News from afar came in the form of letters from family members, or the local newspaper. Knowledge of happenings overseas was unheard of, and keeping up with the family meant a letter every year or so.
Things began to change with the invention of the radio, and eventually television. Yet, these were still passive devices. You were presented with programs that purported to be factual, but you never knew if it was indeed true. None the less, you were in touch with the whole world around you...the world just didn't know you were there.
With the advent of the personal computer, came new hardware to connect to others. Modems enabled you to subscribe to "Bulletin Boards" in other cities via the phone lines, and learn about other people's lives, thoughts and desires. Still, it was a one way street. If you posted something, you had to wait for someone to log on, read it, and reply.
The Commodore computer opened an entirely new chapter with the advent of Q-Link, a new computer service. With this program, you were able to chat LIVE with people around the nation! You could play games, trade recipes, or just keep up with your new found friends lives.
This amazing breakthrough went on to become AOL, which still exists today.
AOL brought us the fledgeling Internet. I'll never forget getting goosebumps as I passed through the so called "Internet Gateway" and merged onto the Information Superhighway! Lewis and Clark couldn't have been prouder of their discovery! I went to places I never imagined I'd visit, and saw things that I never thought I'd see. With the Internet, I became a citizen of the world.
30 years later, the Internet is woven into the fabric of our lives. We check E-Mail countless times a day, Tweet when we're down (or up for that matter), play games with people thousands of miles away, and share our lives with friends and family. They are available to us 24/7, and we cherish every moment! We meet people who share our interests, and become friends. We are actually able to "talk" to local celebrities, just as if they were family. We receive news as it happens, from multiple sources. We are truly global, and addicted citizens. Imagine losing that feeling for nearly 24 hours!
We have built our lives around the World Wide Web, and become attached to it. We can't seem to live without constant status updates, Tweets, and gossip.
Take that away, and you have a couple of lost sheep. Staring at the modem for hours on end, waiting for the green "Internet" light to come on seems downright silly, but the thrill when it finally does is truly enlightening!
Welcome back, world!