I wrote my last old-fashioned letter on a Hewlett-Packard typewriter about 25 years ago.
That machine is now tucked away in the attic along with its dinosaur cartridges and accessories.
Today, we use sleek laptops, wireless printers and handheld tablets stocked with apps, photo wizards, WiFi and all kinds of stuff that can make shopping, browsing, watching movies or playing games a cinch.
With so much technology surrounding me at work and at home, I figured I might have a decent shot of scoring well on the Pew Research Center’s Web IQ quiz.
Wrong. I answered five of 12 questions correctly (that’s dismal), including missing the answer to whether the World Wide Web, celebrating its 25th year, and the Internet are the same thing. They are not. The World Wide Web provides the electronic documents stored on computers that are connected to the Internet.
I did a little better on the Twitter questions. I do not tweet, (neither do a majority of other online adult users), but I see enough tweeting on reality shows to have a good idea about it. For example, the character limit for tweeting is 140. I got that one correct. Tweets are usually short and badly abbreviated. Hashtag wasn’t hard to figure out either. Reality shows use Twitter to tally votes for song and dance contests.
On the other hand, iPhone users might appreciate this question. In what year was the iPhone launched? If you guessed 2007, you’re right. I was wrong.
Respondents earned the highest tallies for identifying Bill Gates in a photo. Yes, I got that one right, and so did 83 percent of the folks surveyed.
Most folks, 74 percent, also knew that a megabyte is larger than a kilobyte.
Many times I run into online privacy policies, too. But, according to the survey, 44 percent of respondents are aware that when a company posts a privacy statement, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are keeping the information they collect private.
If I’m lost on the highway, I certainly don’t mind giving up some privacy with an online navigational system, but not in my home. Some of my apps ask for information that I’m not willing to share.
Sometimes, I think about my old typewriter in the attic. It knew very little about me, and that was good.
But, it’s too late to go back now. My tablet follows me — in my purse, my bed, the sofa and even in the car. I’m attached to my online shopping sites, Pandora, Netflix movies, email, newspapers, books and online magazines.
Life for the past 25 years with the World Wide Web has changed us more than we often realize, bringing everything to us wherever we are. It’s no wonder we’re gaining so much more tech savvy, but sometimes I wonder at what price.
Chante Dionne Warren is a freelance writer. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.