Text Patterns - by Alan Jacobs

Friday, October 23, 2009


It's interesting that the NYT today ran one story about people who refuse to have cellphones and another story about people who want to escape being always connected to the Internet. This meme has been building for some time, but I wonder if the curve is about to turn more sharply upward. Still more, I wonder whether it will amount to anything more than kvetching. Just as everyone talks about the weather but no one does anything about it, I think we'll find that everyone will be complaining about the frustrations of being always connected but hardly anyone will actually disconnect.
My pledge: as long as I'm connected, and enjoying the benefits of online life, I'm not going to bitch about it.


  • Why not bitch? Can't we enjoy the fruits of online life but recognize and bitch about the ways it is also making us worse off — and maybe figure out how to mitigate the effects by, among other things, deciding if there might be some appropriate limits to how much usage is a good thing?

    In a previous post, you noted David Gelernter's analogy of the book to the car. People have been forecasting the end of the latter for years, but the problem is, people like cars. I'm certainly one of those people. I love cars and I love driving. But I still think both have done some terrible things to our culture and our environment, and I think on an individual and social level we're better off using them in moderation. But just as we can like life on the road but bitch about traffic and pollution (and maybe take action accordingly), isn't it legitimate to do something similar for online life?

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