Wednesday, 16 December 2015

What is your favourite internet thing?

Mine is certainly Amazon - not many aspects of the internet have so much improved my quality of life.

This began even back when Amazon was about books. In 1998 I visited the USA, and bought two stuffed US Mail Bag's worth of books to be shipped back to England - books about RW Emerson and the New England Transcendentalists that were essentially unobtainable in the UK (except at ridiculous prices - or by travelling to Hay on Wye Book Town).

Just a year later I realised that the situation had changed, and within a couple more years the world was My Oyster so far as second hand book availability was concerned.  Of course I will still travel an hour to browse a really good bookshop, as a 'fishing expedition' - but the actual business of getting a particular title to read has been transformed.

However, the main value of Amazon is revealed at this time of year in buying Christmas presents. I have discovered, to my surprise, that I really enjoy buying people presents (so long as I know what they like - which isn't always the case) - but I never previously realized the fact because I really hate shopping.

(Except for secondhand books, of course - but that isn't 'shopping' - it being more akin to a religious ritual.)

So Amazon lets me get presents from a huge range at a reasonable price - without shopping. My pre-Christmas experience has gone from one of utter dread at the prospect of facing massive crowds and queues to get a present that is... not quite right - to a positive pleasure at 'giving'.

No other internet platform or medium has made such a plus-difference to my quality of life.


David said...

I suspect you and I will be part of a large group of 'emancipated' male shoppers who no longer are compelled to trawl around the Metro centre or similar in the run up to Christmas thanks to Amazon, who also own Audible now as well, even better. I just bought a copy of Teryl and Fiona Givens The God who weeps. A truely wonderful book that has convinced me even further about many things and has strengthened my resolve to follow Christ. The prose is so well written it is a pleasure to listen to.

Incidentally, I presume you are aware of the wonderful Barter Books in Alnwick? If not you are in for a Bibliophiles treat.

Merry Christmas

Bruce Charlton said...

I know Barter Books well - and have mentioned it somewhere in this blog. Plus the best bacon sandwiches ever.

George said...

I find social interaction extremely tiring and difficult, but managed to become self-employed via the internet. The one "real" job I had in open/cubicle office environment seemed so utterly draining that I was always ill or sick - so I think in that sense it has been good for me!

stephens said...

My favourite is Skype.

Both sets of parents are too old for it (no internet) but both children use it regularly so we get to see them between visits.

Skype must be really great for those with family overseas.

drizzz said...

It used to be Amazon but I'd say now that it's You Tube, the amount of music available, pretty much just through the efforts of individuals, is amazing. I can't help thinking it's too good to last.

JP said...

Not to mention, shopping on the internet reduces the possibility of being involved in a mass atrocity at the local mall...