Internet denies mystery, or does it really?

In the past few days, I had a How I Met Your Mother marathon of sorts. Okay, I may have watched 2 seasons in about 3 days… Anyhow, after watching one of the episodes aptly named Mystery vs. History pondering ensued. During that episode, hopeless romantic Ted (Josh Radnor) declares to his friends that he wants to keep the mystery in his future relationship. Indeed, Ted and his date agree to go out without researching each other on the Internet beforehand. He wants them to get to know each other the old fashioned way, by talking organically and discovering mutual interests without the help of an extensive search verging on stalking prior to having diner. This made me think of how there are many things that we decide to do based on the Internet. Our usage of the web is obvious but is also a practice we might take for granted having growing up with it. Technology especially Internet having an increasing role in every day life over the last decade, it’s hard to grasp the exact impact it has. 

Case in point, I’m pretty sure that earlier today you googled something and checked your Facebook feed and e-mails. These are practices that are normal for a great amount of the world’s population (myself included) but that weren’t typical a few decades ago.

Oftentimes, the information we gather comes from the web and acts as a crucial factor whilst in the decision making process. I, as others born in the early nineties and preceding decades have witness the evolution, or more accurately, the popularization of Internet and social media, as well as their impact on everyday life. For more or less a decade, events, dates and outings among an array of other things can be organized in just one click. For instance, pretty much every thing I watch is primarily thoroughly researched : trailers, summary and sometimes reviews by Internet users around the globe are viewed. The same goes with anything I consider buying online or in stores, and even places I am planning to go to. Google is a lifesaver and we do not know of a world without search engines/apps/websites that can answer interrogations of any type. Everyday, we face an abundance of knowledge and information to meet our every need and desires.

Hence, I feel as though we are always looking for success. We try avoiding failure and mistakes at all cost with digital knowledge. In some ways these information aid us in this endeavor; we are less likely to get lost, to forget someone’s birthday or holidays, getting every thing on our shopping list etc. In this sense, Internet and its affiliated technological advances act as an extension of our memory. Our devices memorize information for us. I’m not saying that we can’t  remember anything or that we won’t encounter mystery or the unknown, we are human above all. We simply have a virtual guide that is there to remind us of important things in our lives and that provides us : instructions, directions and much more. It facilitates our lives. However, there is a trial and error process or rather following your natural instincts that partially disappears. Since we can easily have a correct answer or learn new things by simply doing a quick search, why would we risk trying on our own when we could fail?

As aforementioned, the web can respond to any inquiry we have: recipes, health, culture, music, economy, history and many more . Having all this information at our fingertips (literally) is reshaping the world in which we live in. The fast-paced evolution of new technologies makes me wonder what greater invention will surpass it? Thirty years from now, we will be telling to young people the importance of ‘smartphones’ and ‘computers ‘ and ‘apps’ back in our day. Does this mean our 21st century practices are sucking up our sense of adventure and mystery from our daily lives? I think that these advances in technology make it challenging, as we have to keep up with everything that’s new and upcoming to a certain degree. In order to navigate successfully in the current north-american world, some competences are non negligible. Indeed, these digital advances create expectations of knowledge and a sea of information to which we are confronted to. For example, graduates are now more than ever expected to have mastered or have great knowledge of Facebook, Twitter,Pinterest, WordPress, Linkedn, Microsoft Office Suite etc. This is a situation I think my parents and grandparents could of never have anticipated and have a difficulty adapting to its fast-paced growth. For them the thought of having to get back in the job market is very daunting. There is a gap of knowledge that is noticeable between generations.

To come back to what sparked the idea for this post, ultimately, Ted caves in and clicks the link sent to him by his best friends Lily and Marshall  concerning his date.  After doing so, he is flooded by every single article written on her multiple  achievements, which leaves him intimidated and awkwardly trying  to conjure up shared interest . His date feels betrayed that he didn’t follow trough with their initial plan and, needless to say, the date goes awry. In sum, I believe that in this day and age it is difficult for most people to allow mystery and the unknown in their lives. Internet is entrenched in us to a higher degree that we may initially have thought. Internet does not entirely deny mystery because it entices it by its own vast concept. However, it does seem to hinder our sense of wonder and discovery in our actual daily lives. Our technological practices may sometime consume us in a way prior generations  would have foreseen, but this is not inherently negative. This means we have to be aware of how we use Internet and make amends with generational differences.

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7 thoughts on “Internet denies mystery, or does it really?

  1. This is such a thought provoking post.
    I think you’re right in that we are less and less willing to try and fail.
    But I don’t think that’s a bad thing – it’s human nature and the way evolution works I guess. You use the resources you have as to not waste more resources.
    I guess that does mean we’ve missed out on mysteries that elder generations have experienced but our whole experience is different and I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing. Old ways are not always the best ways.

  2. I would agree that social media takes away both the fear and the joy of getting to know someone. After checking their Facebook, we can go into an encounter prepared to discuss common interests, their family, their experiences… but then we don’t let them tell us about themselves, instead we tell them what we have discovered, which is sad. We have already formed our opinion of someone before we meet them: we don’t allow them to tell us the story of who they are.
    I also agree with you on our desire to succeed. On the internet, you have to succeed, because if you fail, the record is there forever. With all the technology at our fingertips – smartphones, public wi-fi, etc – whatever we do in real life can be kept forever, too. Is it any wonder we don’t want anything to go wrong? Who wants their first impression, formed before they even meet someone, to be that of failure?

    • Exactly, of course we want to succeed and give a pleasant first impression when meeting people, there’s no wonder why we use technology ; it’s to fill the void that separates us. Although these information are easily acessible (in part through social media) to carry on organically and go beyond that can be challenging.

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