Karl and Dorsey Gude of East Lansing, Mich., can remember simpler mornings, not too long ago. They sat together and chatted as they ate breakfast. They read the newspaper and competed only with the television for the attention of their two teenage sons.
That was so last century. Today, Mr. Gude wakes at around 6 a.m. to check his work e-mail and his Facebook and Twitter accounts. The two boys, Cole and Erik, start each morning with text messages, video games and Facebook.
The new routine quickly became a source of conflict in the family, with Ms. Gude complaining that technology was eating into family time. But ultimately even she partially succumbed, cracking open her laptop after breakfast.”
I’ve noticed that I’m online first thing. I do manage to get coffee started and an english muffin in the toaster, but I’m there at the computer licketysplit.
How much of this is part of internet addiction–or communication addiction? I don’t know.
Read this very funny, and poignant post in the same issue of the NYT today:
I wish my memory worked differently. I’d like to be able to conjure up an accurate image of my consciousness from, say, 25 years ago. You know what 25 years means: No cellphones, no e-mail, no Internet, no social networking (except with an actual drink in hand), and only the most primitive of personal computers. What I want to answer is a single question: Was I as addicted to the future then as I seem to be now?”
Care to share your experiences? What were you like 25 years ago before all this technology gave us such instant access?
For science fiction writers this should be a good exercise to think through. Whenever you are designing the future, think about the implications of one change, and see the effects ripple through society and culture. Life 25 years ago is very different from the way it is now. And for every good piece of technology there are consequences. It’s just an interesting thought problem that might be fun to fuel a writing exercise: what small change in the world could bring about major cultural changes?