Have you ever thought about what life will be like if we suffer some horrible calamity like a huge earthquake, meteor, or volcano? You’ve probably made lists of things you’d need in order to survive such a catastrophe.
But what about the unnatural disaster of the end of the Internet? Don’t ask me how it could happen. I’m not that well-informed when it comes to how the Internet actually works (though I have heard there is such a thing as a “kill-switch.” But I do know how much we depend on it.
So how would you survive if the Internet were to suddenly disappear? Here’s my top six list of things to do and things you might need. Just in case.
1. Telephone – If there were no Internet, we’d have to resort to using the telephone again. Luckily conference calls can still be arranged via telephone, so the Internet isn’t a total requirement for communicating. But then there’s keeping up with the stock market and local news. How would we know what’s going on on the east coast when we’re on the west? The telephone can convey a lot, but people sometimes talk without thinking. Email or Tweets can be written precisely, using the exact wording necessary. News dissemination would slow down to a crawl. People would have to call their brokers to make trades, and the stock market would have to go back to older methods to keep people up-to-date with the changes.
2. Telegraph - Maybe this won’t be necessary, but it can’t hurt. So go grab a telegraph machine from Ebay (before the Internet goes down, of course), and take an online class to learn how to send and interpret Morse Code.
3. Entertainment - Gone are online video games, watching online movies, and the like. So you’ve got to find some other source of entertainment. Maybe people-watching, or computer games on CDs, or charades with your friends, or even board games with your family. Be creative. Buy a real live deck of cards or chess set and have some fun.
4. Get out of the house – This may be a novel idea, but without the Internet, you may actually have to venture outside of your office or your house. You might consider going for a walk (or a drive) and visit friends you haven’t had to see in real life for a long time. Go see a movie in the theater, order pizza in-person and eat it in the restaurant. Go shopping in an actual store, and pay with actual cash (I think the credit card machines are connected to the Internet…I’m not sure, though…they do make that modem connection sound though).
5. Laugh out loud, for real – How often do you type “LOL” when you’re not really doing it? So get to it! Watch a funny movie, hang out with your friends (the ones you haven’t seen in years though you talk to them all the time on Facebook), and experience the joy. Then be sure to tell everyone, “LOL! In fact, I’m ROTFLOL!” And everyone will be able to witness this miraculous event.
6. Sunglasses/umbrella – These kinds of weather accessories are for your protection when you venture outside.
All jokes aside, I got to thinking about all this because I sat down with my laptop in a place with no wireless Internet. I sat there in front of my open computer, staring at the screen, trying to figure out what in the world I could do with no Internet. I couldn’t update my blogs, check my email, check my Facebook, play an online video game, watch an online movie, surf the Net, check on my grades for my class, read articles, check the weather, or read the news. I realized I really couldn’t do anything. Except open up a word processing program (Notepad seemed like a safe option), and write this blog post to be posted later.
We really do depend on the Internet. People send emails, use social networks, and talk “face-to-face” with webinars and Skype. This is how many of us stay in touch with friends, family, colleagues, bosses, and clients.
But imagine the thousands of people (or more) who rely on the Internet to make a living. (I actually hope to be one of those people.) Without the Internet, a lot of people would be out of work. People wouldn’t be able to move money around in their bank accounts (unless they called the bank or actually (*gasp*) went into the branch. Internet marketers, those who make a living from blog posts, Adsense, and affiliate sales, would quickly lose their source of income . People who have Ebay stores would suffer a similar fate.
What would you do if there were no Internet? How would your life change?