Life with the World Wide Web can be somewhat of a contradiction. On one hand, it grants access to an endless amount of information and resources that are useful in our day-to-day lives. This can be anything such as medical information, directions and phone numbers, cooking recipes, the history of practically anything, online shops, and countless other things. On the other hand, if used incorrectly, it can lead to unproductive lifestyles and, in some cases, even addiction. Today I am here to talk about my own experience using the Web.
The first time I started using the Web, I was nine years old. There was not a computer or Internet in my house, so the only time I got to use the Web was at my grandmother’s house. There was no such thing as a smartphone for me; that didn’t happen until after 2010. Back then, I used the Web mainly for entertainment, though I remember using it to do schoolwork a few times. This is very different from the way I use the Web now.
While eventually owning my own computer made easier for me to use the Web more often, it wasn’t until I owned an iPod Touch (and then a smartphone) that I started using the Web every day. Even though it’s something I enjoy, I’m conflicted about the Web because it’s very easy to use it for mindless entertainment instead of using that time to do something productive instead. I often find myself reaching for my phone instead of getting up from where I am and doing things I truly want to do. Life with the Web is useful and convenient, until we get too attached and start using it for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis. I like that so much information is easily accessible and I can talk to people in any part of the world in real time, but I dislike that it’s hard to find a balance between using the Web and… well, not using the Web.
After Hurricane Maria, I experienced what it was like to live without the Web for two months. Surprisingly, it was only hard when I couldn’t reach my family and friends from other towns to find out how they were doing. Once I borrowed a hotspot from someone and found out my family and friends were fine, the Web became dispensable. There were multiple times when I wish I had it to do x or y thing but ultimately, I didn’t need it. I got my entertainment from reading books (which I love to do, but often put aside to use the Web and social media instead) and spending time with the multitude of family members that were staying in the same house as me. I’m sure it would have been different if I’d had classes that semester and had assignments to do; in that case, I would have been desperately trying to find some way to find Internet and access the Web.
If I didn’t have access to the Web at all, ever, I wouldn’t be as nonchalant as when I couldn’t access the Web after Hurricane Maria. I’ve grown up with the Web, so I can’t imagine what my life would be like if I didn’t have it. So many of the things I like and/or learn are influenced by the Web. I would be a completely different person if I didn’t have the Web in my life. If it wasn’t for the Web, I wouldn’t be a reader anymore (which I’ve been for years and it’s an important aspect of my life), and I wouldn’t be at Universidad del Sagrado Corazón, studying Digital Production. It’s strange to think that parts of my life that seem unrelated to the Web would be different without it.
No matter if you think the Web is good or bad or both, we can all agree that it has a gigantic impact on our lives. It’s up to us to decide whether it will be positive or negative.