I don’t need memory, I have the Internet!
A recently graduated friend of mine surprised me with this statement some time back. At first, I laughed it off as just one more difference between my Baby Boomer self and those of the “Connected Generation,” but the more I think about it, the more I have to wonder if that isn’t a dangerous development in how we use our brains. Today on Facebook, a group of us joked that when the Internet goes down, we forget our computers can do other things.
Everyone is fond of saying “the Internet is forever” but it’s not. If you’re like me, you’ve spent time frantically searching for something you saw once online, trying variations of keywords, only to have that article remain permanently hidden, even from Google’s best efforts. The Internet is NOT forever…it’s an intangible collection of electrons we stir up on a regular basis. A few keystrokes, and a website is gone forever. Just ask my friends at Maple Tree Restaurant in Blue Island: Their web hosting service with Apple shut down, and all that shows up with their old URL is:
Http/1.1 Service Unavailable
They literally had to recreate their new website, complete with a new URL, www.mapletreeinrestaurant.com, just to get back online and reassure everyone they were still open for business.
If you’re like me, you print off anything you really need to save, because you don’t trust the electronics, which means the burden of recordkeeping has passed from the company to the me. This could be prudent, a lesson hard learned, but is it also paranoid?
So, is relying on something as impermanent of the Internet to “remember” for us a dangerous development? If we do, we’re relying on the Internet to be 100% accurate, a concept made fun by State Farm in its current TV commercial:
Are we placing too much reliance on something so intangible? Or am I just old-fashioned? Are we as PR consultants so over-reliant on the Internet that we’re exposing ourselves and our clients to potential risks?
So, are you live or are you Internet?