This week I reflected on the Internet. The word “behemoth” got lodged in my mind.
Had this “thing”, this net become the metaphor for something so large, so powerful, we have yet to define its boundaries? The Internet defies reason, it crosses borders with ease, it scales mountains without so much as breaking a sweat and it dives deep into the dark depths of the ocean and traverses the void of space. Do we still foolishly believe we can contain this leviathan?
The net has become a “world” within a world. New vocabulary terms fill glossaries daily as people travel to and from this country. Many have full citizenship… digital citizens, the explorers of the 21st century wandering the streets of a virtual world. Flashing “passports” briefly as they crisscross the earth in mere seconds, communicate with people known and unknown, conducting business while creating profiles and ‘trashing” the place with their “footprints”.
And then there’s me. I am but a sojourner on a quest for permanent residency and eventual citizenship in this digital world. I have a passport, but crossing the border with its lines of protocol and procedures remains daunting. There are so many choices to be made. Neon colors and widgets barrage into my reality and leave me wishing for a mentor…one of those who have managed to make the jump…from my world to the online world. Or maybe just a quiet place? Please take my hand…show me, help me discover, protect.
I am but a sojourner, occasionally crossing the border into the Internet. I search for stores, sites and information. I buy, I watch, I download and I intrude into the lives of others. Sometimes, I hide…not wanting everyone to know me, to know that the imprint that still ripples in the electronic pond is mine. But those that know tell me…it will continue to ripple, affecting every fiber of my being, my life. Like the network that the internet has become it will not leave me. I am caught in its grip. Am I slowly becoming a prisoner of war?
The internet is not yet fully my world. I do not live there. I use its resources. The tools that can make life easier are sometimes found there. I communicate and link my ideas to others, yet find that I have not yet engaged its creative power in all its various forms. I follow the threads and paths that someone else has left. Their ripples become the pathways on my own journey of discovery. And here lies the power, the lurking leviathan. Ideas are hard to contain, they eventually permeate our minds if we let them. And those ideas form society, form lives, touch families, impact hearts and can destroy if we allow them.
I am but a sojourner still, I wearily saunter down the lanes of this digital world. Not so much scared of the here and now, but wondering what the long term consequences of lives fully devoted to this new digital world will be. I choose now to be connected and disconnected at the same time. Living life in the real world and stepping into the virtual one as needed.
Still “hyperlinking” to the human touch.
You Tube Video: “The Inner Net” by David BowdenCoetail 2, David Bowdon, Digital Citizens, Digital Footprints