the humanization of the Internet

Get-off-the-internet-and-get-a-life-cjmaddenI had lunch the other day with Tim O'Brien, who is the Executive Director at the Huffington Post.  We covered a variety of topics but one that really stuck with me was one that I spoke about, the humanization of the Internet.  He really pushed me on this topic commenting that he had not thought about this before. 

So what do I mean?  Technology is certainly something we are not giving back.  At one point down the road there will not be an industry that hasn't been touched by technology.  Who would have thought 5 years ago that looking for real estate would move from print into the web?  That we would communicate in 140 word sound bites.  That we would consume daily information through photographs on our phones.  That we would check into locations and get tips, a discount and an acknowledgment of our loyalty through a badge.  That we would wait until noon for the doors to open online for a sale.  That we would read books on a small piece of hardware.  Obviously a few who invested in these ideas but most people had no idea what was coming down the pike. 

I remember when I got my first ATM card, back in the 80's and how life changing that was.  I remember seeing a smattering of people in the early 90's walk around the street with huge wireless phones thinking to myself why do they need to have that constant communication.  I know now the answer because you can and once again it is life changing.  Once you are given the opportunity, through technology, to live in a completely different way that is more efficient, I can pretty much guarantee that you aren't giving it back. 

So we are living our lives with all cylinders going full tilt.  When we finally do put down our phones, computers, iPads and alike we breath.  What I believe is happening is we are yearning for a desire to create more human connections.  That is why we are seeing an army of entrepreneurs seeking out their own businesses one day at a time.  Many of these businesses are not about the tech start-up but becoming bakers, cobblers, restaurant owners, chefs, pickle makers because each of these businesses connect people back to their roots.  It is a disruption of everything.  People can also create a larger business model because through the net you can find a niche audience across the globe.

The humanization side is the desire to sit around a table with family and friends to share a meal, the need to be with other people even if that means going to the explosion of music festivals around the globe.  It is the human contact. 

I have written about this before.  We are shifting the way we live and although there is certainly a link to the economy but it circles back to the Internet revolution we are living through.  I know I personally feel the craze of the day to day.  I can barely keep up with the flow of information coming at me.  I am so looking forward to getting away mid-June for a few weeks with my family and then spending the rest of the summer working but working at a different level.  The world of the Internet takes a toll. 

So what will I be doing as I get off the constant communication world this summer, making jams, baking pies and cookies, arranging flowers…of course in between a skype call or two but I need to make my own time to enjoy the humanization of the Internet.