“Daddy?” Big 8-year old brown eyes accompany an innocent question, “What did you do before the Internet?”
How do you answer such a straight forward question?
Personally I lived, breathed, worked and generally did most of what I do now, with one big difference… far more of my day 15 years ago was spent in research; library, dictionary, newspapers, books, the Yellow Pages – mediums and information resources that I used on a daily basis in the early 90’s at the Agency where I worked have become relics as the Internet – with Google leading the charge – replaces most ‘non digital’ ways of research.
For those with internet-savvy children, try explaining why it’s better to use a paper dictionary to look up a word as opposed to www.dictionary.com where the word is pronounced for you, and one click away from synonyms, rhymes, etc.
Another key difference between then and now is where the availability of information is found.
Whereas research in the ‘old days’ meant a trip to the library, a meeting / event or being tied to your desk flipping through books or catalogs, the availability of portable handhelds or kiosk devices in many different venues gives research more of a relevance to location, situation and need. e.g. we were discussing Greek Gods at dinner last night and could instantly search for and review a website on an iPhone to compare Greek vs Roman gods (who knew that Cupid was actually a god!)
This kind of relevance to purpose at the point of need means capable users can research quicker and in more depth to gain information and opinion that much easier, with far less expertise than days of yore.
So when my son asks me again, “Dad, what did you do before the Internet?”, I’ll probably answer;
“Hold on a minute, son… I’ll have to look that up on Google!”