субота, 13. октобар 2012.

My name is Surfing. Couch Surfing. (An example of using the internet in a good way)

The internet shapes our lives in two ways. First, it enables us to do things online: to surf the web, chat, talk on Skype, write e-mails, share files, watch videos... and many other handy things.
To stop and think that so much of that, what we take for granted today, was not possible just some 10-15 years ago is quite astonishing...

One asks himself, what will we be able to do in 10-15 years? And more importantly, would it really make us happier and our lives richer?
We will have to wait and see.

However, the topic of this blog deals with not this first aspect, with doing things online, but, so to say, with the second mode of internet's influence on our lives. That is the influence the internet has on what we do when we are not online.

I find this aspect to be at least as equally important to reflect upon as the first, as it enables us to use the virtual world to organize and plan our real lives in perhaps more creative ways and to make it richer.

And I would argue that if we fail to use the internet for that purpose as well (it's therefore not being said that doing things online is wrong), that it can do just the opposite than making our lives richer- it can completely alianate us from natural, human interactions.
Internet in itself, as any techonology, is not good or bad. How we use it is what makes all the difference.

So as to support the creative ways of using internet, an example of a good internet usage I recenly experienced, something that enriched my real life:

A few nights ago, I was at the Antwerp's Couch Surfing monthly meeting.
It took place in "The little Hedonist" (De kleine hedonist), a nice cosy cafe in the center of the city.
The concept is simple: all couch-surfers are invited to come, to meet new people, to see again the people they already know, and to have fun socialising. In addition, while socialising, you hold a glas of good Belgian beer (altough I think that "good Belgian beer" is a pleonasm [for a definition of pleonasm: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pleonasm]), which added to the specific "taste" of the meeting in Flanders (apart from people speaking Dutch), and it also justified our rolle of "a little hedonist" that night.

And altough there was this unique taste, my biggest impression of the meeting was how similar the atmosphere of a couch surfing meeting is. I have been to many meetings in Vienna, and each time it was a very positive experience. A meeting in Vienna, Antwerp or anywhere else in the world, the result is the same: positive vibe, openeness and friendliness.

So many connections I wouldn't have made, so many enjoyable discussions with people from all over the world would not have been possible if it wasn't for www.couchsurfing.org. A portal [a door], a place [web-site] in the virtual world of internet.

I can only be thankful for this network, which enables me to go from my daily concrete live to the abstract virtual world of internet, and then go back to my daily concrete life with good ideas how to make it richer.

I hope that writing this blog was another "good example".

And you? How do you use internet?