Friday, 21 December 2012

Just a thought....

This is a very loose & woolly suggestion, but is it reasonable to compare the rise of the internet with the rise of fast food?
Fast food chains opened up a whole new way of eating food. You could get a McDonalds cheaply & in loads of different locations. Satisfying hunger in quite a novel & entrepreneurial way. Then they became a hang out. At the drive through, movies, and sports grounds. Copy cat chains cropped up. KFC's, Burger King, supermarkets. They opened in Europe & the rest of the world. Have the meal that you love, for the same price, same style, anywhere that you happen to be. Quick, cheap, convenient, satisfying our basic need for salt, sugar & fat. Except now it's caused an obesity problem, and rich, powerful & bloated corporations, and there is a bit of a backlash against it. Some people are using local produce now, supporting farmers, eating healthily, being individualistic, and cooking themselves.

Is the same thing going to happen to the internet in years to come? Access your friends, social networks any time you want, anywhere you are, any way you like. Satisfying our basic need for social connections in quite a novel & entrepreneurial way. Then they became a hang out. At work, home, shops, cinema, everywhere. They opened in Asia, Africa & every corner of the world. Do anything you want online, anywhere you happen to be. Watch, share, and listen to anything you want. Get anyone's opinion on everything, not just now but from the huge archives as well. Except now it's causing a health problem. Poor posture, eyesight, and lack of awareness of the natural pace of life & things happening immediately in front of us. Loss of basic skills & crafts. Inequality between those who can access & those who can't

Will we see a backlash against the internet in the future? A return to using hand crafted tools, supporting local communities, living healthily & minimally, and saving our eyesight? 
What about TV & the radio? There was never a backlash against them. They just evolved. If it's a creative medium, and it's in the hands of people then it has to be good. Maybe the backlash is against the big corporations & the blind uniformity they impose? 


  1. Excellent post! Food for thought,pun intended :)
    Have a wonderful Christmas.

  2. A quote from Einstein: “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.” I think internet use will need to evolve, I can't see it going away whilst it is now the foundation of business, but it has to serve us, not the other way around.
    Enjoy Christmas, I would rather be in Scotland, lucky you!

  3. Thanks Willa & Angela. You have a nice Christmas & Mooo, sorry, New Year too ;-) Seeyou in 2013.

  4. enjoyed reading your analogy here Chris, made me laugh :) but I guess I see what we are doing here as just an extension of the literacy we have (individually but also as a culture) been developing for decades and centuries, ever extending the reach, the uptake and the possibilities for meaningful interaction and memory building across space and time... I draw a long bow, but I did my first research thesis in medieval literacy, book production and radical changes in the what and how of represention...

    have a lovely Christmas break everyone :)

  5. Food for thought exactly!

    Merry christmas..hope it snows here!!

  6. Nice comparison, Chris, but I do hope that the internet doesn't have similar effects on my health as salt, sugar & fat have.

    Otherwise I see a big problem coming uo for myself.

    Only yesterday evening I was talking to some friends about for how long we are now using the internet. I think I started 1996... I am a long time user now. And yes, I am hooked. But still, in my holidays, I am usually offline and though I am being critized for not being available there has to be time and space for other things - like nature, hiking, real interaction with real people without staring at a monitor. On the other hand, I could not do very long without internet, to be honest :-)

    Now, with the edcmooc starting soon and all the activity from all the participants, I will never be able to get off the internet. I have a strong feeling that the moocs and everything else going on cause a major change in the society and in the understanding of education. I want to be part of this.