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12/22/08

Our so digital life


We take a lot of things for granted, and we can only realize how important they are when we don't have them anymore. It is such a routine act for millions of people in the world to turn on their computer and connect to the internet automatically. Just think about a world without internet, what if you were denied internet access for the rest of your life? How different would your life be? Few centuries ago, people didn't have internet, did they lack something in their lives? Was something missing? I remember talking about how growing up I had penpals from different countries and how excited I was whenever I was receiving their letters through the mail. We used to exchange postcards and pictures by mail. Those were the times when the Post Office actually meant something, it was our way to connect to people regardless of where they lived. Checking your mailbox was exciting because you were not just expecting bills and marketing flyers, you knew you would get that letter from your long lost cousin, you knew your grandmother might send you a postcard of her last vacation. Handwriting was a skill, it was an art that we used proudly. Today, everything is typed, rarely do we exercise our right to write. Journals barely exist, we blog :) We don't make beautiful collages in notebooks and write poems under them, scrapbooks have become an art of the past. We use Flickr and Picassa, it's so much easier, we copy and paste! When we don't like something, it's easy to get rid of it, just click on CTR+ALT+DEL! We don't need to smile, we can just insert a smilie :) We don't carry bags of memories with us, we put them in folders on our harddrive. Sometimes our computer gets a virus and we lose everything and it feels like our house's been destroyed in a fire. Cellphones are so much convenient than the old adress books. How many of us have lost our phones and felt miserable not for the loss of the phone itself but the long time acquired contact list?
We live in an e-world where we are free to express ourselves! It's a free speech zone and sometimes we don't care about the person on the other side of the screen. Truth is, we never met them, why should we care? They're just a digital name on our screen, we are free to treat them as spam. There is indeed a power in anonymity that can lead to a lack of authorial integrity. Because we are anonymous, we are not accountable for our non ethical behavior, we lose our moral responsibility. We are anonymous because we don't want to be associated with our own comments. There is still this hypocrisy to appear truthful and respectful to the people who know us out of our e-world. After all, no matter how hard we virtualize ourselves, the real world is still there, waiting for us, harsh and judgemental. We can't escape from our reality. The question remains,aren't we becoming robots by virtualizing ourselves, our lives and every little need we have? We shop online, take classes online, put our pictures online, tell the stories of our lives, make friends.... But at the end of the day, when we turn our laptop off, do we also turn the virtual world off? Do we forget about the blogs, the shops and the people we met in our virtual world? Are we so powerful that we can turn on and off an entire world in our mind? How amazing would that be? The truth is, we can never turn that world off, we can never forget about all the rantings and ravings, we can never get so powerful that we can just turn off every little virtual knowledge we've acquired during the days, months, years. And the reason being: we always come back! We always find somewhere, somehow, the need , that voyeurism to just turn our computers on, and enter into that virtual world. Are we all voyeurs?

*btw, at least I can't turn this digital world on and off coz I find myself thinking about fellow bloggers in my real life wondering what they're doing at this present moment. Truth is I had a dream about Mona few days ago ( can't remember what it was about)but I was really surprised when I woke up. Why would you dream about people you've never met before?*

20 comments:

Mina said...

Good post:)

Lol the dream was random hmmm, maybe you was thinking bout her recently!!!

Rabia said...

First one to comment again..yeehaw. lol
Seriously though, your post got me all nostalgic... I surely remember writing letters just 4/5 years ago to my friends overseas....but sadly we haven't been in touch since last couple years or something. Tis sad =/ ..however I wouldn't solely blame internet for that. I mean for excuses, we can come up with loadz but sometimes growing up plays a role too. We grow, we adapt as the time changes and that's that ...I know there's no set date for when we can say "oh yea..Today I've grown up" but what Im trying to say basically is that we change with time..subconciously.
About the journals bit though, I think you can't really compare blogging to writing in your journal because in my opinion, journals are more personal, something you cherish...whereas blogging is not as exclusive. sometimes people only ever blog because they have readers and they're trying to impress them with fiction material. Im not saying that's bad in anyway...but its definitely not like keeping journals. -le sigh-
That was a nice read Hijabee =P ..Im definitely gonna try and get back to my letters now.

Rabia said...

Damn. not the first oen after all...... =(

Mina said...

^^^Lol

hijabee said...

Mina,
Yea totally random,lol I'm still trying to comprehend it lol :)

Rabia,
Yeh not the first but not the last either lol. But you're right, some of it has to do with growing up probably, but I still don't see kids having penpals or write letters. All my lil' sister knows is facebook and hi5, I've never seen her write letters to anyone lol. Yeh get back your letters, I will try to do the same. Instead of emailing my husband @ work, I will actually go and buy a card and write him a note lol. I guess I'm a very nostalgic person :)

Amina said...

great post!
I still send letters and scrapbooking is one of my favorite past times..
but people don't appreciate so I don't write letters as often as i used too...
shoot, the last time i send out a letter was to a guy that i liked and i think he was like...euh...t'aurais pu le dire sur un email...c'est plus rapide!! yourself a lucky person..lol :)

JaLpArI said...

Assalam sister....
wat a wonderful post...:) :) i too had many penpals... a few of them abroad... that feeling we get while opening an envelope can not be known to the kids today.... but, then again, we r all in such a hurry that the only way out is this quick way of using the net... :)
btw... i still do write letters somtimes (to friends who wudn mind !) and greeting cards still enjoy the position they had... no e-greetings from me... :)
tc
tatas

Empress Anisa said...

Salaam 'Alaikum sister- excellent post, MashaAllah! (as usual)

I remember those days of being excited and running to open the door for the mailman to see what letters and cards he had for us? Now, it's seem like such a hassle to even buy a book of stamps to post anything! Even with that, print your stamp or label online and toss yor goods at the postman when he delivers your mail!

Muslim Girl said...

That was such a needed post! Just the other day I was wondering where photo albums went. Now we store all our photos online, or we all have digital cameras. I miss polaroid cameras, or regular cameras, where you actually have to GO get the picture made and then put it into albums, which you can then show to your children and so on. But with computers you can't do that!

It feels like if the computer gets a virus or you lose your internet connection... your whole life is over!

Hajar said...

Love the posting. ^^

Aih~ I too have had my share of snail mails experiences. Waiting anxiously for the mail, getting frustrated when the post office lost my letters *still having that now*. I still send letters even though most of my friends prefer the electronic way. And I keep journals. Flipping through the pages of the journal, holding those crisped aged letters. There is just a sentimental feel to it. Whether it has anything to do with growing up or time, I like to think that it is more of a person's preference. Letter writing takes time, creativity and effort. Not that emails don't. The feeling is more personal I guess.

About the dream ... my deduction is that sometimes, the people that we've never met are the ones that are dearer to us as compared to people we meet everyday yet we know nothing of. Personally, I do feel emotionally attached to some of our sisters here. Weird eh?

christoislamicseeker said...

this blog is great your essays are sweet and insightful.

as for internet, it is the end of some modes of communication, but its amazing in connecting other kinds of people. Nothing beats a piece of snail mail that isn't a bill or junk though.

Hajar said...

Tagged for "100 things". :)

Mona said...

So poignant, so true..Great post. I do enjoy the digital life but we have to get away from it sometimes.

Zara said...

LOL that's so true! I couldn't imagine I'm living without my PSP, my mobile and my beloved laptop =D

hijabee said...

Amina,
Everyone just wants it fast nowadays, we don't appreciate small things anymore lol.

Jalpari,
Opening a letter is truly a unique feeling and I miss it a lot :)

Empress Anisa,
Waleikum Salam, I don't even remember the last time I used a stamp, lol seems like forever!

Muslim Girl,
I love photo albums and yea they tend to disappear now, we only keep digital pictures lol.

Hajar,
Yeah, it's weird lol. I will get to the tag later on. Thanks for tagging me :)

Christoislmaicseeker,
Welcome to my blog. Thanks for your comment. And yes the Internet has great advantages, the only thing it lacks is a more personal touch

Mona,
Thankis hun, yes we do have to get out of it before we become digital ourselves lol.

Zara,
We are so used to those things that we would go crazy without them :)

Ms.Unique said...

Beautiful post Hijabee ..... loved soooooo much ...... I will go crazy without my computer ..... lol ..... that's the only touch I have got with this virtual world ;) ..... Yup I used to hear abou those penpals and scrapbooking ..... but never did it coz not lucky enough ..... so dosen't make much difference to me ..... and I was never encouraged at home either ..... anyways but I love this virtual world and I too keep thinking abt my fellow blogger-sisters ..... ;)

hijabee said...

Ms.Unique,
I will go crazy without my computer too.... I get so bored without it lol.

Jamaican Hijabi said...

just today, a transformer blew and we were without electricity..I was like NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! what am I going to do without the internet , lol. It does lack a personal touch, and personally I think it makes me lazy. I do almost everything online, chat, blog, email, I work on my PC so I am always online at the office, I shop online, I watch videos and documentaries online, I learn online...and the list goes on and on and on, oh and I husband-search online, lol. But sitting on my butt at the PC all the time will just get me fat, I think I need to get out there and get some sun, and interact with "real" people more, so the next time theres a power outage it wont seem like such a calamity :)

hijabee said...

Jamaican Hijabi,
I hear you! Lol, same here, I do everything online:) It's like a drug, I'm addicted, the first thing I do when I get home is turn my laptop on. I feel disconnected without it lol.

ADK said...

everything is so true in this post wow.
excellent post really. I thing the digital world have some really good points but we must take a break much often. Because the real world is better :D
and that Jamaican Hijabi said is so true for some of us.
And this can be a problem I thing cuz there have so much things to do in the life. And sometimes we just stay so much time in front of the screen and missing so much things from the world. I hope you understand what I mean :) It's a little bit sad. But true I am feeling a little bit disconnected too without Internet
lol