In a recent survey it was revealed that half of Britons are addicted to their e-mails. This is not something that has been around forever, but a thoroughly modern form of procrastination, and one that is made all the more tempting by the technological advances of recent years. Our e-mails can include images and multimedia, our computers can be set to check for new mail every minute, and we can even access our e-mails on our mobile phones from anywhere in the world (with signal). And now, as if sending e-mails wasn’t enough, the world has embraced the concept of blogging, writing messages not just for a particular recipient but for the whole world. Free blogs allow anyone and everyone to post their ideas and thoughts on the web. Nothing is safe.
This all sounds rather “doom and gloom”, which is somewhat uncharacteristic of me, and for that I apologise. I am, after all, a great enthusiast of technology, especially that which takes place online. I have several web sites, I have been blogging faithfully for years, and I do indeed have my e-mail program set to check for new mail as often as possible. The problem is, I am no longer the exception.
Once upon a time, the internet was called the “Information Superhighway”. It was an unknown quantity, an illusive concept, an unstable and precarious conglomeration of information that only a trained expert could navigate successfully. We were promised a wealth of knowledge at our fingertips, but it was slow and painful, and search engines were primitive and basic. It could therefore be assumed that if it was on the web it was reliable, since the expertise required to write the HTML code and upload it to the right place and enable people to find it was such a laborious and complicated process that the author had to really know what they were doing. And so we quickly learned to trust the internet.
Then came some technological advances that made things more accessible. Dial-up connections became relatively easy to set up, and fairly cheap to run, so more and more people started using the net on a regular basis. Search engines sprung up to help us find what we were looking for, and we even started buying things online. We started searching for more obscure things, using e-mails more regularly, downloading the latest add-ons to make our computers faster or more clever. But the result was that our computers actually became slower and less functional, resulting in the need for better computers, better technology, more downloads.
Then came broadband, and with it a revolution. Suddenly we were all given the option of accessing vast quantities of data at unimaginable speed, opening up doors for high quality multimedia content. We all wanted to play video clips, download large programs, talk to people the other side of the world in crystal-clear audio and video quality. The world was at our fingertips, and so was the ability to add to it. Not only can we download, but also upload, enabling us to write blogs, share video clips, showcase our photos, contribute to online communities, host internet radio programmes. What we find popping up in our search results are no longer those respected web sites we trusted in the beginning, but some random bloke writing his musings from a cupboard under the stairs.
My point? Actually there is none, I was merely trying to write some sort of introduction and it got away from me. The main point I was intending on making was that my friend Anne-Marie now has a blog too. She will no doubt be making witty remarks and insightful rants about a wide variety of topical issues, and we will be glued to our RSS feeds waiting for the next gripping installment. In fact, it strikes me that one could quite easily spend all day every day reading other people’s blogs – if only it were a paid job…
In other news, I still haven’t made any progress on my blog redesign. I decided I wasn’t satisfied with the design idea I showcased before, there’s just something missing, and I can’t quite figure out what. I’ve been toying with various ideas and layouts, but nothing has really jumped out at me so far. I’ve even been wading through other people’s themes at WordPress.org, but none of them have been anything like what I’m after. For some reason I can’t translate the concept I have in my head into a tangible idea that I can create visually. I’ll get there eventually. Probably. Don’t hold your breath.