Not long ago, son Ben asked how I ever did my newspaper job without email.
I almost don’t know.
It’s a question I’m thinking about this morning as the news headline flashes that the Internet is 25 years old today. A quarter century; a generation.
Ben, interestingly enough, is 25. So the Internet has been around all his life in the same way that airplanes and electricity have been around mine.
Before the Internet, my work life was a lot noisier. Nowadays when customers come into the newspaper office, they often remark how quiet it is. Time was, the press was running, phones ringing; reporters, ad reps and circulation employees were speaking on the phone with customers, keyboards were clicking, the wire service machine cranking out copy, and our printers were loud.
Nowadays, our newspaper printing is centralized at another plant. Sometimes people are surprised by that, but it’s how many other plants do it now, as well. Things change. They always have.
We do a lot more emailing with sources about press releases, story ideas and contacts than we do phoning them. The AP wire no longer prints news stories through a machine in the office. Instead, they are fed, silently, through our computers along with the various social mediums and news items we get from everyone else.
Keyboards no longer go clickity clack, and our year-old Apple keyboards are nearly silent, no matter the volume we are churning out.
Yes, things have certainly changed. I remember when work email was installed. My first-ever email was a press release from Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana. I didn’t even know if I was responding correctly but hit the reply button, typed something in, acting all cool as though I had the email thing down pat, and hit the send button. It worked! I was off and cyber-mailing!
And there’s been no turning back. I know that for younger folks, email is now passe, and they prefer texting. I still say nothing beats a laptop computer where I can spread out, enjoy a nice big screen, and have a conversation via email. I use it constantly.
How about you? Do you email much? Do you prefer texting? What is your favorite social media medium? How have computers in general and email in particular, changed the way you do your job?
As with all things, the Internet is a conduit for the good and evil of those using it. It is a great way to communicate, stay in touch, get things done, order products, learn and produce.
But of course, it’s a means for bad things too, such as pornography, scams and other evils.
This morning, I'm taking the high road with my cyber thoughts. I’m saluting the Internet with my morning coffee cup and thinking about the fine elements of working with and through computers. I love how we connect with friends and loved ones in ways that would never have been possible 26 years ago. Charities raise money to do good. We learn. We publish books. We write something called blogs – the Internet version of newsprint columns.
So here’s another one for HOME ROW. Stop by anytime. You know how to find me.