Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Internet by Nannette Croce

Recently, I was contacted by someone who read an old book review of mine on Amazon. We’ve continued a correspondence on our common interest, late 19th century American History. In his most recent email my cyberfriend expressed something I’ve felt for a long time.

Isn’t the Internet wonderful?

It is common these days for older writers, as well as many others, to condemn the Internet for a decline in reading among young adults. The Internet does have its drawbacks, but while the last half of the 20th century––most of which I lived through––brought any number of new technologies into our homes, I can’t think of anything, including TV, that rocked my world like the personal computer and the Internet.

It’s easy to forget that as recently as ten years ago book reviews were the purview of the elite. There was no venue for the average reader to express opinions.

My interest in late 19th century history would have dwindled, like my interest in other periods before, along with the limited number of books available in my local bookstores and libraries. I now have access, not just to every new book on the subject, but out of print books as well. I’ve read the original letters of General Sherman archived online, viewed old photos from the Library of Congress and used historical maps to assist my understanding of a battle.

I have engaged in stimulating correspondence with people who share my interests whom I would never have met in my suburban community. My writing has reached people in many different parts of the world, and I number among my closest friends people I’ve never met face to face, like the special women with whom I am sharing this Year of Gratitude


Angie Ledbetter said...

Yes, like everything in life, there's a bad side if abused. But the Internet offers great stuff like support groups to those who are physically isolated or otherwise unable to find a live group. I've made several good friends too, and read things I'd never have had access to in a brick and mortar store. Three cheers to the connections forged through cyberspace!

Barbara Quinn said...

I LOVE the net. I'm an infoholic and it feeds my need to know things. From WebMD to temperatures of Palermo, Sicily, to what the heck is a quince, it's all there courtesy of Mr. Google. It was great to finally meet you after so long of being net buddies. Maybe someday we'll all get together. (preferably on Oprah!)

Kathryn Magendie said...

I feel the same way...I've made good friends through the internet, met some of them face to face, and others I have not...

There are people I'd love to meet -you, Nannette, and Barbara, for starters...and 'getting to know' people through the internet first makes it even more interesting.

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