A Human-Centric Approach to Life in an Internet-Driven World

There aren’t many aspects of our lives that the internet and modern technology haven’t influenced. For many, like myself, it’s getting harder to let the human element of life shine without technology or social media interfering.

That’s why, in all of the chaos that’s happening in the world right now during the global pandemic, I’m using this time to take a step back and reflect away from the noise. I’ve been playing more music than usual (playing instruments, that is), taking time to read more of what I enjoy, and now, I’m starting this blog as a way to collect and organize my thoughts.

I remember my first experiences with technology and the internet in general. It wasn’t the lightning-fast, ultra sleek, easy-to-use system we enjoy today. Those weird dial-up modem noises sounded like they came straight out of a sci-fi movie. That’s something I’ll probably be talking about decades from now to my grandkids and they’ll think I’m losing my mind ― because how could dial-up internet even be possible?

Still, that alien-like noise brings back fond memories of how I’d rush home from school in the late 90s, open Napster, and start browsing for Pearl Jam songs. I remember it used to take an entire day to download one song (kids today have no clue how glorious Napster was to a young kid with no allowance). I’d read some of the most random articles I could find until dinner. Every hardware back then was chunky, and every website, messy – but everything was brand new. The internet was an exciting place that most people couldn’t really wrap their heads around at the time.

My mom had strikingly different sentiments. She drew an annoyed expression every time the phone bill arrived and made it a point to remind me the internet was useless. She didn’t see the fascination with new-age technology, and now that I’ve seen things like TikTok and SnapChat, I understand exactly how she felt. We made it a point to start using the internet after midnight because it was free. The last thing I wanted was for her to end up shelving it altogether and putting it out of my reach – which funnily enough, she would try to do it quite often, and even though I lost quite a bit of sleep in my younger years, I’d say it was worth every minute.

Technology had quite a powerful influence on my life. Now as an adult, my career also revolves around technology and the internet. I’m a designer living as an expat in the Netherlands, so I spend my days connecting with international teams and businesses. The internet has enabled me to reach people and places I had never even imagined when I was a kid “surfing” on the web.

But I’ll also be the first to admit that for many people, the internet has replaced much of what we used to enjoy in person, as humans among other humans. That’s why I’m making a conscious effort to reconnect with people, despite having to spend so much of my day online. Prioritizing self-care outside of the digital world allows me to enjoy my time online (and offline) so much more and get the best of both worlds.

It might seem ironic, given that I’m trying to reclaim personal connection but using digital media like blogging to do so. But I think that’s really the lesson to be learned here: digital technology is a part of our lives, and moving forward, it probably always will be. It’s important for us to learn to embrace it without sacrificing deeper, personal, more meaningful connections, and I’ve made it my mission to do exactly this.

I hope you enjoy and join me on this journey.

 

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In this first note, I’d like to send a special thank to my brilliant friend Joel Cipriano, for supporting me putting this website together, so I could start writing.