Are you in the Driving Seat?

I love the Internet. Indeed without the World Wide Web that was invented or should I say evolved by some horrible coincidence in my life I think from a personal point of view my existence would be totally different.

Just as I was beginning to lose the use of my legs and then the traumatic events surrounding my two strokes there was a great technological saviour just waiting on the horizon.  So although I cannot really walk any great distance, despite the fact that I became paralysed on my right side it didn’t mean it was the end of my world or creative life.

By the late 1990s whilst my physical and mobility life was fading away the great stopgap for me became the Internet.  I could see from its very early stages the amazing potential.  Firstly of course the ability to instantly communicate, feed information and data and then finally conduct business.  And indeed the potential for consumers and of course for businesses themselves was absolutely enormous.

Despite the dark shadowy side of the Internet (and let’s face it even away from the cyber world and in the real world there are a great many shadowy elements) the World Wide Web has become the legs that refuse to work for me and the right arm that can no longer function.

In fact even as I ‘write’ this blog I’m not actually ‘writing’ it. I mean I am not actually typing the words onto the keyboard, I am speaking the words into my computer as voice recognition and then onto my website.  For a guy born in the 1950s into a postwar world of valves and huge great clunking equipment all of this technology really does remain a revelation and continues to amaze me.

However despite all the wonders all this technology can bring I do believe that we are now reaching a second-generation era with the Internet.  The World Wide Web as we know it has grown up a bit, it’s certainly in its adolescence and like all youngsters we need to keep an eye on it.

We were amazed a few years ago, and some egos were suitably massaged, with the onslaught of social websites especially Facebook. Despite the delights of having a bunch of friends stuck at the other end of the Internet I have to say that these websites have slowly but surely bored me to death. The onslaught of boredom has been a gradual prolonged process.

Facebook has been a phenomenal success because it has allowed people to show off their own profile, bring on a whole bazaar range of “friends” whilst at the same time allowing us to feel ever so important by the vast volumes of these “friends” that have joined us.  Towards the end of last year I was beginning to ask myself what on earth I was doing every day popping into Facebook to “catch up” on these cyber people that I kind of know.  Although I will be the first to admit that in a way I have used this website to broadcast my personal views on certain subjects, in the end it was the tedium that got to me.

I have not really said “goodbye” to Facebook.  But I am certainly giving it a break at the moment if only to concentrate on the real world and not the polished up, pseudo-dramatic humdrum of everybody else’s.

From my point of view the Internet is the greatest innovation since the development of wireless broadcasting which opened our life and brought in the world.  Radio and then television and at the same time distant figures on other continents were in our living rooms — for all of us that was a miracle.

Like all medium I think the Internet has to be handled with a degree of care because there’s a danger that those controlling it could in a  way be also controlling us.

Remember in life it is always you and I who are in the driving seat!

Ian Waugh