The Internet has changed the way we work, play and even think. While its offered us much and greatly enriched our lives, it has also taken away things — things that used to be precious or at least an ingrained part of our daily lives:
- The art of polite disagreement — The tone of debate has greatly sharpened and thanks to the anonymity, people can post cruel messages they never would dare say aloud to someone’s face.
- Telephone directories — It’s easier and faster to look up a phone number or address online than it is to dust off the White Pages.
- Music stores — No one wants to pay for music anymore since they can get it for free on the Internet.
- Letter writing and pen pals — A handwritten letter–ink on paper with a postage stamp–is fast becoming a relic since e-mail is faster, easier and cheaper. The death of the handwritten letter has also taken with it the valediction, “Sincerely yours.” Now we have “Best” and “Cheers.” Or nothing at all.
- Memory — Can’t remember the name of that actress who popped up in a new TV show? In just seconds, Google or Wikipedia will answer any question you think up, no matter how obscure. There is no need to remember facts when we can find them so quickly and easily.
- Doing nothing — When you have nothing to do, chances are you get online. Back in the day, you would have picked up a book, taken a walk in the park, played with your kids, hit the couch for a nap or just stared out your window watching the sun set. Now you check your e-mail and the status messages of your Facebook friends.
- Photo albums and slide shows — Printed photos are so old-fashioned. Now you post your digital photos online to share with friends and family. (Hint: Grandma still likes to get the printed photos. Be nice and print a few for her.)
- Respect for doctors — Thanks to all the health and medical information available online, we all think we know as much as the people who actually went to medical school.
- Privacy — It’s not the government that takes away your privacy! You do that yourself when you post every little detail about your life on Facebook, Twitter and MySpace.
- Newspapers — It’s hard to sustain a business model where the news is always a day old and subscribers have to pay for it. Instead, you can get your news right now and free on the web.