There's a large amount of material on the web debating how the Internet has impacted on the way we read. We may be buying just as many books as we did ten years ago (perhaps even more), but the growing popularity of e-Books means we're reading more and more from Kindles and i-Pods.
Most writing blogs acknowledge the impact the Internet has on books, even though we haven't all made up our minds if this influence is a good thing or a negative one. One thing we can all concur is that our reading habits is not the only thing being influenced by the Internet.The past few years have seen the development of new holiday traditions in many homes.
Is the Internet making the holidays better
Spending time with family is, of course the ultimate holiday goal for most of us. Thanksgiving with an abundance of food would still be lacking if family members weren't there. However, we're allowing access to the Internet to make it almost okay to be absent from loved ones. One can easily get a medium-priced laptop with a webcam as standard. Families on separate sides of the globe can virtually 'come together' in one room by just the click of a button. While we're not eating together any more (and some may say this is a good thing) the Internet allows us to 'meet', 'talk' and 'spend time together'. We reveal only as much as we want to. We can pull on a tee-shirt while wearing pyjama bottoms, but no one would be the wiser on the other side of the web cam. After twenty minutes (or less) we can click that button, sign out, and go check who's replied to our recent Facebook profile update. We've done the family time. There's no one hanging around to bother us.
The Internet does allow us to have greener holidays
We've almost started a new Christmas tradition in our family. We aim to have greener Christmases, so we never have a real tree. We've invested in a fantastic artificial Christmas tree, which we re-wrap carefully after use each year and store away in our loft (attic). Because most people we know are now latched onto the Internet for dear life, (literally) we send most of our Christmas greetings as e-Cards. The Internet has so impacted on our holidays that the e-mails we send out to friends and family during this time actually makes us feel like we've made an effort to communicate. But is this really communication?
Christmas used to be about people dropping by for a meal or presents. Now an email and an e-Card will suffice. While the Internet, by all means, has empowered us to be every where, all the time, I think it has taken away the personal touch needed to maintain close relationships. Have you noticed how we already prefer to chat with people who're thousands of miles away from us (on Facebook and Twitter) rather than the ones sitting near to us in our homes? What impact is this phenomenon going to have on our Christmas and Thanksgiving this year?
Are we all going to sit by our phones and laptops texting and updating our profiles and tweets and ignore our families? Will the Internet steal your Christmas this year?