Thursday, February 16, 2006

Internet termites

When I first began to use a computer, I rarely thought about invasion of privacy, phishing, or emails promising to enlarge an appendage I do not have.

I met poets by way of Gazebo at Alsop Review and I met other writers through various message boards. At some point, I joined, establishing the Women’s Poetry site and later the Poetry site. I connected with thousands of readers by way of the discussion threads at those sites.

On occasion, I actually met some of my Internet friends in person. They were all nice; some have become true friends. In those early years, the Internet seemed a light and airy sort of place, with limitless possibilities for learning, research, and networking.

I don’t remember whether my first computer even had virus protection. But in the last few years, I’ve invested in all sorts of virus protection and spyware programs, and wouldn’t even think about foregoing the latest updates for just about every software program I run on both computers I depend on now.

I back up everything. Twice.

I won’t open an attachment from someone I don’t know; I don’t read ‘forwards’ because they’re almost always followed with an apologetic email saying something like, “I really thought the cure for the common cold had been found. The email I sent you was a scam. Sorry.”

SPAM has become downright silly. Whether it’s an appeal to send personal information so I can share millions with some poor soul who can’t spell and whose family died in a plane crash, or buying prescription drugs at ridiculously low prices, or engaging in activities that you’d have to be brain dead to engage in—well, you get the general idea. Silly stuff.

And we have to do some pretty silly stuff to keep all that stuff from being even more annoying than it already is. As young as the Internet is, the good old days are already sorely missed.

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