There's something about the internet that's really starting to turn me off about all its supposed whizbang capabilities. It's as if it's truly becoming one of those campy B-movies come to life. You know the one. Man creates machine. Man loses control of machine. Machine destroys man. Call me paranoid, but it just doesn't seem right than anyone in the world, from the safety of their little bedroom, can hop on the computer and take a tour of your neighborhood, see what color your house is, the cars in your driveway, etc. It just seems that it's technology we don't need, especially when it comes to something that's borderline intrusive on privacy laws. I understand that there are no laws being broken and that the images are taken from public property but imagine if a guy stood outside your house with a camera and told you that he was going to post photos of your house on the internet. Probably get the majority of us riled up, even if only slightly.
But the "street scene" isn't the subject of this rant; no, that was just a tangent. What's really got me going this month is the way people treat business conducted over the internet with the professionalism of a couple of grade school kids swapping baseball cards. Gone is the "gentleman's handshake." In the day where a 12-year-old kid can hide behind his computer monitor and post anything anywhere at any time, anonymity reigns king. Just log onto any chat room or forum and you'll know what I mean. I'm sure most of you are by now familiar with this.
One of the things that I've noticed that's really been affected by this is the world of classified ads. It was only a few short years ago that one simply called up the local newspaper and for a marginal fee could run an ad selling whatever goods or services he had available. At the end of the ad, he put his name and phone number and that was that. The ads were fairly short, so it was important to decide what you wanted to convey in a conservative manner, for example:
1964 Chevy fullsize truck, 350/350, runs great, call John (323) 555-1524.
If a guy was looking for a '64 Chevy truck, he'd call John, pick his brain for a little more info on the truck and the two would set up a time and day to have a look at it. Nowadays, it seems it's not that simple:
1 cool Ride
I got a lowrd truck that iz so sick U need 2 see it 2 believe it. Text for pics (Three2three) five5five-oh3oh4
I swear that exact ad was on the internet. So one's left with two options; Do I call the guy, knowing that he's probably a knucklehead to begin with? Or do I just laugh this one off and pass?
And this problem also extends into possible buyers. Recently, I placed a '53 Chevy Bel Air on a popular ad site for sale. While I received my fair share of kookie replies, these two take the cake:
"Is the car pictured on the ad the car for sale?"
No, that car is black and chopped. Mine is red, stock, and is a pickup truck. Really?!
"The ad says the car is a four-door. Is it a four-door?"
Needless to say it was at this point I decided to yank the ad and sell it locally. Happy to say that the car is now in good hands, with an enthusiastic youngster ready to tear into it and give it the love it needs.
While I get how great the internet is and how we just can't live without it anymore, I can't help but wonder what all these kids are going to do when they're forced to one day sit down and talk to each other face to face. With all the Tweeting and Facebook page updates going round, do they realize that the only person that cares that much about them is themselves? I shudder to think whose hands the world will be in in 20 years. It seems that the more advanced society gets, the dumber its citizens become. And in 20 years when I remind my kids that you can actually use a cell phone to talk live to another person instead of using what's basically 21st century Morse code, they'll probably just look at me blindly and ask, "What's a cell phone?"
But at least we'll still have our old trucks!