Ned Ludd would have loved our Week Without the Web

Jeff Morosoff, Special Asst. Professor, Hofstra University

Billy Joel wrote, “The good ole days weren’t always good, and tomorrow ain’t as bad as it seems (Keeping the Faith, 1983).”  I think back to the “good old days” and the more I ponder, the more I agree with Hicksville’s favorite son.  I said in my last blog that I started my public relations career in 1983 without a word processor and no Internet or fax machine.  There was a slower pace and  more face-to-face communication.  Yet, come to think of it, our work was quite a bit less connected.  No instant messages, instant mail, instant data, instant information.  Far fewer tools to get the job done as quickly, accurately and effectively as we do in 2011.

As our Week Without the Web approaches, there are many folks who still avoid much of what the web has to offer.  They don’t use Facebook and smartphones, and never bank or buy things online.  Some might call them Luddites, a term that draws its name from Ned Ludd.  Mr. Ludd was among those whose actions led a social movement against mechanized looms in 19th century Britain, fearing they would take away jobs and change their way of life.  Today’s Luddites eschew much of the computer age for many of the same reasons, and while in some cases they’re not wrong, I think their resistance is ultimately a poor choice.

So I, too, will attempt a Week Without the Web and for me, it’ll be a trip down bad memory lane.  I’m thrilled by the amazing, diverse, head-spinning tools we now have at our disposal.  And tomorrow’s not as bad as it seems.  Your thoughts?

7 thoughts on “Ned Ludd would have loved our Week Without the Web

  1. Mike Margolis

    Ok first off, kind-of disappointed that you didn’t quote Mr. Joel from his song Allentown (my home town, of course). After I let that slide, I want to say that I think technology makes our jobs overall easier, but different. Because we are so connected, everything can get done faster. Placements, interviews, pitches, releases, etc, all done faster. However, like you pointed out, it’s less personal communication, which I personally think we could all use more of.

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  2. joyce litwin zimmerman

    Jeff: Congratulations on keeping up with the times. As long as we keep our minds open to new possibilities we are bound to succeed. And what makes it even better? The music of Billy Joel provides a good bridge between the generations.

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  3. Amanda

    First off, I love that you quoted Billy Joel. I love his music and find most of his song lyrics to be meaningful and just great!

    I think I have said this before, but to reiterate, everything that is good comes with a little bad. While I often resent this idea of everything has to be now, everything is immediate because I feel it is eliminating our ability to be patient people, I would rather have the technology than not have it. I fall victim to the ease that the internet, smart phones, facebook, etc brings. I love that if I can’t remember something or if I don’t know the answer to something, basically all I have to do is google. I love the invention of the mp3 player, or in most cases the ipod, which gives you the capability to store ALL your music on one device rather than have multiple CD’s and carry a CD player.

    I agree that these Luddites, as they are being called, probably shouldn’t resist. It kind of goes along with the saying, “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” We are in a world that is blossoming with new technology. It is better to learn, adapt, and go with the changes.

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  4. Charlsie

    Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, keeping the faith!!!!!

    I love Billy Joel, and I am glad we have technology, but with anything good, comes the bad. Yeah the Internet is great but it has risks for young children. I think there needs to be certain limits and MUCH more education. I think these limits are going to happen sooner rather than later.

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  5. tori tarkhan

    Professor,
    the people referred to as “luddites” seem to be a thing of the past now that the internet has taken over. In my opinion, the internet and social media has created jobs instead of eliminating them. I sympathize with those who don’t take advantage of what the web has to offer, and do agree that once in a while, reading a book is better than reading an article from an online newspaper. However, the access we have today is unlike anything we’ve seen thus far, and I like that we are more connected now than ever. I think it has helped the public relations industry greatly.

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  6. Nicole Magnacavello

    As much as I would love to say that I’m willing to do a Week Without the Web, I can’t. It sounds great and seems a lot less stressful on my life, but the truth is when I think about it, it makes me stress more. Constant communication has become a way of life for my generation. Although life didn’t always start out with technology for us, it sure has become what’s “in.” With internships, homework and papers to write I doubt I would get much done. I guess that sounds almost hypocritical because how distracted do we get when we’re writing papers with Facebook and Twitter. To be honest though, I think there comes a time where you need to really sit down and weigh what is important in life. Yes we are constantly connected, but if family time is important or giving your brain a vacation for a couple days matters, you’ll find a way to do it.

    All I can help but do is think that this is just the beginning. Change is constant and in this field we are always having to keep up with what is going on and how it will benefit our businesses, organizations and clients. I can’t imagine what I would be missing not being able to use the Internet for a week, not to mention everything gets sent to my smart phone – I can’t just shut that off too!

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  7. Sarah Facciolo

    Professor Morosoff,

    The past and present and future are three components that make up our lives. Going back to the past when it comes to technology can really help people see that how things were not always handle to us and that you really had to work to get places. But as you look at the present things are easier to research and get projects done. And then looking at the future it can get better as each decade goes by. But what MR. Ludd did I feel was wrong to try to bring the past to the present. Because you have to live in the present no matter what the reason it is for. We have to accept what is given to us and what is to come. But what’s great about the technology is that you can still go back to the past and get a book out the library. But restricting certain technology will just make people want to use it more. So I agree with what you have to say Professor and hope people continue to live in the present.

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