I just clicked on a website I look at daily to find the site had been redesigned. Everything was the same, and yet strangely different. While I could still access the same links and read the same articles I've always looked at, something was off and everything had slightly changed.
I find that when this happens, when websites experience a sort of facial reconstruction, I always feel a bit unsettled the first few times I look at the site. It's a jarring event. What's stranger still, is that when something like this happens, I am suddenly incredibly aware of my dependency and addiction to information gathering online.
In the morning when I first sit down at the computer I visit essentially the same websites, in roughly the same order, every single day. These range from The New York Times to Facebook to PopSugar to Defamer. A nice mix of news, gossip, and pop culture. It's become a part of my routine, so much so, that I now have to follow this parade of checking up on websites every time I first sit down at a computer. At work, when I am at the computer for hours, I will check these sites several times a day. I have become so accustomed to being able to receive the latest news instantly, whenever I want it, that whenever this knowledge source is altered or cut off, I feel lost, untethered, and a little insane.
I like to think I am not alone here, and this is one of the many symptoms of the current media-obsessed generation. We are used to getting information now and we want it now. When that doesn't happen we freak out. Maybe it's just me?
Looking back on my road trip from Maine to California, that sense of being cut off was pretty incredible. There definitely were a few places where we wanted email access and almost everywhere we had wireless connections, but it wasn't the same need or dependency that I've developed since moving. Or actually, the need and dependency probably started growing back when we used AOL for our web browser and I was addicted to AIM. Clearly, cubicle life has done little to stifle the obsession.
Existential crisis of the day: I just want to cut all these ties to technology, leave behind the cell phones, the PDAs, the computers, the iPods, all of it... I just want a few days of total disconnected freedom.