Mixed Internet Blessings

A newspaper website in the UK has come up with 50 things that are being killed off by the Internet. (Just FYI, printing was not one of them.) While some of the things mentioned could be debated, several were beyond question.   One was the art of polite disagreement, which is pretty obvious when you read the plethora of online flames from skuzzy people hiding behind the Internet’s anonymity. Another was enforceable copyrights. Despite efforts of copyright holders, the Internet has become a Wild West of unauthorized reproductions. Yet another is geographical knowledge. Thanks to GPS systems in cars and cell phones, even cab drivers don’t have to know their way from here to there any more. One of the more scary ones was privacy. As the story noted, “Users of social media websites make more information available about themselves than Big Brother could ever hope to obtain by covert means.” Mainstream media were also listed as being threatened, but despite several publications going belly-up, I think many are using the Internet to reinvent themselves. Finally, they listed one that I have become very aware of lately – knowing telephone numbers by heart. While not all the fault of the Internet, I’d be willing to bet that once you put a number into your iPhone or Blackberry, it will be quickly forgotten. Quick, what’s the phone number of your child’s school?