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Reading books vs being online
Tonight as the faithful gathered at the Tuesday Cafe, there was a
discussion about reading a book vs logging on to the internet.
Some folks in an online forum seemed to be critical to cyber surfing
and online discussions, calling them static and isolating.
I thought about this and the number of seniors I have assisted in
getting connected to the internet. No, nothing static nor isolating
about their efforts to connect with others. And as I was reflecting,
I received a call from a retired woman, disabled by a variety of
infirmities that limit her mobility, poor vision, complaining
that something had happened to her internet connection. She had 18
e-mail messages she could not read, and "how am I going to meet with
bridge club?" Here is a woman not willing to give up a social life, a
woman who also wants some connection to a world she cannot visit
because of her infirmity. Suddenly an alternative life line is
disconnected and she wants help.
I sit here many an evening reading this discussion group or that, and
marvel at the ideas presented. I may not join in the discussion, but
then, if I were physically in that crowd, I probably would not...for
it is my nature.
I love to read on the web. I access newspapers and journals I cannot
afford to purchase. I have easy access to the New YOrk Times, Alantic
Monthly, the Boston Globe, and a host of other periodicals and
journals.. What is the difference between reading them online or
holding them in my hand? I can access and download all kinds of
information to read at a later time. What is different than reading
in printed format? I see a reference that intrigues me. What do I
do, wait till 8 or 9 or 10 to visit the library or get on the net and
search for the reference. If available I can download.
Want some raw data? What better place to go than the net.
Want some discussion about a topic, such as the most current one mad
cow disease or hoof and mouth disease? Go to the web. Why wait to go
to the library and know that if it is text, it will not reach the
shelves for a week or two. Even in the library one goes to the
computers for catalogue and periodical searches.
Those who are quick to call logging on to the computer and losing
one's self in cyber space a static, anti-social activity, think again.
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