I know I am showing my age here- but I remember when there was no such thing as surfing on the net. When shooting off a letter meant having to go to the post office. When- if you wanted to research something, you were trekking off to the library.
The advent of the Internet has opened a world of possibilities for anyone to explore. Why- before I sat down to compose this post this morning I emailed my parents, answered a Facebook post from my son and several other folks, put on my IM and talked to a couple of friends, sent out a morning tweet on Twitter and looked up a recipe for dinner. My personal productivity has skyrocketed in the years that I have been hooked up.
The most important thing that the Internet has given me is a connection. Not only can I email my family and know that they will get it as soon as they log on, I can IM them in real time. None of these long distance charges or interrupting if they are working or having dinner. I log on and if they are on- we can talk as long as we have time. Even better- we have Skype and other video messaging services. Now, I can sit and talk via web cam with my son in the Boston area, my sisters on each coast and several dear friends who are stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan. What a privilege that is! Why, when we were living in Turkey in the late 80's- it would take up to three weeks for a letter to travel back and forth!
Social media websites have given us an equally important connection. For about ten years I was a member of several groups on MSN. A far cry from the original messenging boards, MSN groups were very user-friendly and attracted a diverse crowd. Through those different groups I met and cultivated some of my dearest friendships. These women and men have been with me through thick and thin. It is a unique friendship that is created without ever having set foot in the same room and very special. Then there is Facebook and Myspace. I have been a member there since 2005 and 2003 respectively. In those years I have become reconnected with people that meant the world to me all through high school. Having moved 3 times during my high school years I lost touch with so many people that I thought I would never see or hear from again. Catching up with them has brought me so much joy. In addition to that- through their own messageboards- I have been able to "meet" many more wonderful people who share my interests.
Our children are being brought up with computers in school. They are taught from an early age that research is just a mouse click away. Navigating the world wide web is second nature to them. They have no idea how very fortunate that they are. It has been a boon to me to be able to learn more about my disease than I ever could have in a library. I have explored treatment options online and shared tips and ideas back and forth for living with this with others who are living with it. We can see something that catches our eye- and look up indepth information on it in just a moment. "Google" is my middle name these days. :-)
It amazes me how far we have come in this technology in less than 20 years but I am eternally grateful that it happened in my lifetime and that I have been able to not only avail myself of it but teach others to use this marvelous tool as well.