Posted by: Corri van de Stege | October 18, 2009

Progress… and it’s good for you!

Children-observe-a-total--001’10 years that changed everything’ is the headline of the Guardian weekend 17.10.09.  This is a special issue about ‘The noughties’,  that ponders the decade.  What interests me  in this issue  are the sections on communication – nothing is as it was,  the headlines proclaim, can you imagine a world without Google, Wikipedia and Facebook?

Well, I’m not too much into Facebook but I do use Wikipedia and I google all the time, for this, that and the other.   I’m blogging, downloading podcasts, have linked up to BBC iPlayer (although I rarely watch anything) and am a fan of iTunes.  However, my life changes have not included Twitter (I am just not interested in whenever someone else is parking a car, or making a cup of coffee, but then I probably don’t get it!), Comment is Free, the iPhone (although I am the proud owner of a blackberry, does that count?), Craigslist (I’d never heard of this until I read the articles), Spotify (which apparently is ‘more lifechanging than iTunes, with a library of six million tracks, including a remarkable amount of really quite esoteric classical music’ – I must definitely find out what this is about). 

Are you all avid followers of all, or any of the above?  Where do people find the time?  I know, all these are supposed to safe time, but we know what that means.

My most life changing things over the last 10 years  include:

  • More and longer hours working than ever before
  • My satnav (how would I be able to find all these places I have to get to, without a satvnav?)
  • My smartphones, now including the blackberry (I’m still not sure whether these gadgets are progress or whether they simply make you feel even more paranoid about keeping in touch with clients, jobs, family, the latest news, etc.)
  • Being able to order any book, whatever I want and whenever I want it, on-line and having it delivered the next day, or at most two days later
  • MY BLOG – who would have thought ten years ago that I’d be happily posting my thoughts on books, the world, and anything else that comes into my mind, on a regular basis for everyone to read?

However,  definitely the most life changing part has been the birth of my granddaughter – amazing how life just carries on, regardless.  Whilst I’m growing older and getting used to new technology, inventions, this fast changing world of ours, there she is, born right in the middle of  it and able to take for granted all these amazing gadgets.  How am I going to explain to her that when I was her age, telephone was something that you did via landlines (and, yes, operators if you wanted to telephone someone in another country) and when I was a bit older and on holiday in say Spain, I would have to queue for the one telephone box round the corner of our accommodation in order to let my family know that I was ok?  Sometimes, the queue was some 20 people long!  Now she and I speak to each other via Skype and I can see her, even though she lives across the Channel, talk to her on a regular basis.  Well, that surely is progress and quite amazing.

On top of all this, today’s Sunday Times has an article that claims that for silver  surfers the net could actually be quite life enhancing, and that time spent googling the web is even better for grandparents than reading.  Tests have been carried out that apparently show that brain activity needs extra oxygen and nutrients so more blood flows to areas involved in internet surfing.  In fact, ‘searching the internet appears to engage a greater extent of neural circuitry that is not activated during reading.’    Furthermore, this is linked to brain activity of the elderly (not that I would classify myself as yet as elderly!) , potentially slowing or even reversing the age-related declines that can end in dementia.  Well, if that is not a good excuse to carry on googling and blogging then I don’t know what is.  So, granddaughter, as well as being part of all this progress it is actually good for me!



  1. I can’t imagine what I did before the Internet, Google, Facebook, my blog, etc. I really enjoy being able to look up information when I need it and have it at my fingertips. I love the book blogging community that has allowed me to be exposed to so many books I would never have discovered otherwise. Facebook has been a great way to get back in touch with old friends. I try not to let it all get out of control though…and I limit my hours spent online. I

  2. Kathleen – I agree, the secret is not to let it get out of control – but it is amazing good fun! It does seem quite incredible that we did not have any of this ten years ago. What did we do?

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