In 2001 when I had my first exposure to the internet, I thought of it as just another computer program where I could “check my mails”. I was so excited when I opened my first email account on excite.com mail (I don’t know if that site still exists). Today, that medium has gone way beyond an avenue for sending and receiving mails, to something akin to life itself.
Being a vast repository of knowledge, way bigger than all of the world’s libraries put together, it has become rallying point for information seekers, information givers and all that exist in between those. It has given rise to a whole new “genre” of computing and all kinds of applications and “hobbies” have grown out of that.
The fact that the internet is a goldmine, priceless enough to turn a noob into a sensei in a very short while is not even debatable. With the help of Google, a total dummy can master a subject and save his or her job by making use of tips, and ideas that others have stored online.
Another very wonderful “lifestyle” that the modern internet has given birth to is social networking. First popularized among Nigerians by Hi5 and which has now become a virtual life with the advent of the vastly successful and addictive application called Facebook. When I say addictive, it is because of the dearth of a better word, powerful, and revered enough to qualify the state of helplessness that certain people feel from the pull of the desire to see people’s pictures, to write on people’s walls, send them messages, and “poke” them. Enter Twitter, and it looks like the addiction has come two-fold. Twitter is worse because it brings people even closer, and makes them go straight to the point and not mince words about their thoughts and ways of life, in just 140 characters they pour out stuff that most times should never even be spoken to ones self.
Young men and ladies, seem to have lost all sense of modesty, they seem to have forgotten that discretion is the better part of valour. People have forgotten that every information dropped on the net, either dropped through an alias or a real name, can still be traced back to the author – we don’t even know who is reading them, who is watching, or who is keeping tab. Pictures that are potentially injurious to reputations down the line, status updates that can come back and bite, and tweets that, if they can be dug up, can ruin lives, careers, and relationships – if only people can look that far and quit listening to that other sound in their head that is telling them “go on, it is just the internet, it isn’t that serious” – sorry son, it is as serious as a heart attack.
It is ok if some people take this piece personal, it is also perfectly ok if some take it serious, but the Monk has spoken, let he who has ears listen, and he who has eyes read. Catch you next week.