After weeks of incomprehensible and tremendously frustrating disruptions to our usually stable and speedy broadband – with umpteen tech support calls, Google searches, and two router purchases – our “pipe” to and from the Interwebs is once again working reliably and smoothly.
The other day, in the midst of our little connectivity crisis here in rural Sweden, Charlotte asked me what I thought it would be like if the ongoing financial crisis eventually impacted the Internet’s ubiquitousness. What if the ability to go online became limited, slower, and less useful? Would our smartphones turn into dumb phones? Can you even get a landline these days?
When I first connected my computer (a clunky, grey and sluggish Macintosh Performa 630) to a modem and finally succeeded at getting online sometime in late 1995, I soon understood that I was at the doorstep of an entirely new era. A new world where megabits and megabytes determined speed and experience. A layer of connectivity that spread across the planet and provided new relationships to people and eventually to brands. An epoch where both Charlotte and I would earn our living and integrate the global economy in our lives as both service providers and consumers.
Being old enough to remember what it was like before the Internet was such a critical part of society is an advantage. Especially if for whatever reason, “the web” one day regressed into something less omnipresent and less useful. But I think I would be able to deal more easily with such a dramatic change if the Internet stopped working altogether. If it slowed down to the 28.8k modem speeds of 1995, I don’t think I could handle that for very long.