Even our most basic needs --food, sex, and communication-- have been affected by the introduction of the World Wide Web into our daily living. With the speed of light the World Wide Web brings the libraries of the entire world into our homes and offices. At our fingertips is an inexhaustible network of global information that includes academic literature, late-breaking news, and a wealth of subversive materials. Instant and inexpensive communication provided by the Internet allows for the development of friendship, partnership, and even romance between people whose distant geographies prevent them from meeting face to face. For those of us familiar with the World Wide Web, it is impossible to overestimate the effects it has made upon our life.
New socialization has developed in concurrence with the expansion of the internet. Gradually new ways of shopping, dating, and conducting business have made it literally unnecessary to leave the computerized home. The effect of the hyper-society upon interpersonal relations has become increasingly apparent over the past several years with sites such as match.com and dilidictronics.org which re-format romance and sexuality into html language. I harbor an old-fashioned fear of a future in which human interaction exists only through the mediation of a computer. I question wither the magnitude of Internet communication has the capacity to nullify immediate contact between persons.
For nearly a decade, I have been a daily user of the Internet. It has been useful in numerous ways. This morning for example, I was able to view a live web cast of Puxatawny Phil cnn.com casting his shadow and predicting six more weeks of winter. Last night I was able to view advertisements that were censored out of the CBS Super Bowl broadcast --moveon.org and peta.org A few days ago I found a killer video by emenem that was too controversial for MTV --gorillanews.com. I use the Internet to communicate with Zapatista rebels in Chiapas, Mexico ezln.org and to speak with friends in Cuba to whom US mail does not deliver. Despite any paranoia, I see my communications network expanding virtually to accent my inter-personal reality. The solitary time spent searching the global network, provides my acquaintances and myself with a vast range of timely knowledge that make our conversations more interesting. Happily, the Internet is not yet vivid enough to rupture our need for physical human contact.