What can you do online these days? Everything. Should you do everything from home? No.
The infographic below covers it all, from working to entertainment to dating. However, I believe this belongs in the category of "just because you can doesn't mean you should." A few examples:
- Entertainment - internet video. Watching a video alone is not the same as watching with a group of friends and sharing the social experience. Case in point: last night, I went to an 80s music video singalong at a local theater. A passionate video enthusiast had aggregated the best videos from the 80s and provided captions so the entire audience could karaoke along, all whilst enjoying watching the big hair, pushed-up jacket sleeves and bad makeup native to that decade. And while I grew up as a child of the 80s, I never had MTV, so most of the videos I had never seen before. That's right: I had not seen the video for White Wedding (and many others) until last night. Could I have watched them on YouTube in the intervening years? Probably. Would the experience have been the same as sharing with 100 screaming 80s fans singing along and waving glow sticks? Hardly. What is unique and affirming about real life interactions is that for many of us, shared joy is increased, and enthusiasm is contagious. Clicking "Like" or "Share" is efficient and has value, but clicks do not compare to the live, interactive experience.
- Education - online classes. As a former educator, I'm of two minds on this issue. On the one hand, I was in the publishing industry writing high school textbooks when the idea of an "online textbook" and online tutorials came about, and the idea that students could access information without carrying home a heavy book was pretty exciting at that time. Additionally, remote access to specialized courses for would-be students living outside major cosmopolitan areas was a huge benefit of what we then called "distance learning." However, any teacher who has ever attempted to administer an online course or student who has taken one can tell you what is lacking: the interactive student-teacher relationship. Online learning works best for basic courses of predictable core material. However, courses that require discussion, debate and process learning are not as effective when administered online.
- Relationships - dating. As with any project, it makes sense to begin with online research in the comfort of one's own home. However, I'm flummoxed as to how one could date and marry without ever leaving the house. Insert above arguments for the necessity of real-life human contact here.
Given those objections to substituting online interaction for meat space interactions, online activities have a place and a value. Take the penultimate example on the infographic: ordering groceries. Buying groceries is not an activity that generally provides a rich, fulfilling social and intellectual experience. So purchasing groceries online and having them delivered will most likely not detract from the richness of life's more rewarding social interactions. Same with paying bills.
Personally, I use the online world to take the mundane tasks such as grocery-buying and bill-paying off my schedule and allow more time for the things I love to do--which involves going out, seeing movies and music, interacting with friends, and even occasionally dating. :-)
What about you? What activities do you enjoy engaging in online, and which do you prefer to do in meat space?
Created by: College At Home