Over-Reliance on the Web?

Allow me to briefly grumble about internet service providers (in general) as they consistently disappoint in the country of America (in particular). The customer service I’ve received has been, surprisingly, wonderful. That said, for an entire week my internet was cut off for no good reason. I live in a duplex, you see, and I had our internet set up at the beginning of the month. A day or so later our next door neighbors moved out. A week or so later I saw my ISP’s truck in front of our house. “What are they doing,” I wondered, and suddenly found myself without internet. I called the ISP immediately and said “I saw one of your trucks out front and now I have no connection, what’s the deal?” Sadly, they said there was an “outage” in my area and scheduled an appointment for a week later. Sure enough, the technician (another nice person) shows up and tells me they just disconnected the whole house after my neighbors left. (I believe this calls for a *facepalm*).

At any rate, this week without the web forced me to confront a nagging fear I’ve always had: that the internet can be used for good work habits and evil work habits. I was anxious when I couldn’t check my e-mail, pay that bill, or know what was going on in the world in real-time (we gladly parted ways with television five years ago). This anxiety, I finally realized, is stupid. Of course I could write a paper without the internet. Would it be more difficult? Mmm… not really. In my case I’ve been dealing with the ideas and sources on a daily basis for the past year (or longer), so I should be able to write out what I want to say without the internet. Does this lack of internet keep me from quickly finding out facts? Yes. But, on further reflection, not having internet also keeps me from checking my e-mail, going through endless links from a blog post, or playing some web-game for “just a minute.” I’m a big fan of the web… but maybe students should consider turning off that wi-fi (even just temporarily) while writing that next paper.

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