The interesting thing about the Internet is how it allows us to communicate. The problem with the Internet is how it allows us to communicate. Bear with me. The telephone. Look at a phone, there " ll be a phone quite close to you right now, so just sit and look at it. Admire its simplicity of design, and with that think what you can do with it.

By just pressing the correct combination of numbers on this device you can talk to anybody, anywhere. Hell, forget correct, just bash them and see who you get. Isn't it incredible? When you appreciate it without all you take for granted, for how people might complain and bitch about how they don't get enough MTV channels that show the same videos, if you can just consider the phone for what it really is... how monumental its ability, how pivotal it is to the world today - the blood veins of the changing earth. Its pretty god damn impressive. And as for mobile phones...

well. Getting back to the Internet, I'm talking about communicating via computers. Now the Internet is a fine example of how mans efficiency improves a previous invention, like the new Game boys requiring only two AAA batteries to run, while the first ones needed four AA's. It's a geeky analogy, but it decorates the point: using the same technologies as phones, we can now do a hell of a lot more with them. Now we " re well above surpassing the Shannon limit (maximum Kbps through a standard phone line) and new digital technologies allow us to send more, faster. Soon we " ll have optical connections, and then some.

E-mail, now I like that. Instant letters, appearing in inboxes faster than it took you to write them. Again, bettering old technology, to use the hideous yet accurate term snail-mail. Royal Mail have just been running ads in Britain - 'nothing gets through like a letter'.

Now there's a certain truth about that, as the advert states:" After all, you can't re-read a phone call." While that is true, you can re-read an e-mail. You can also print it. However I believe that, although the advert didn't mention it - there's something much more personal about a letter, it requires a little more effort to write and send. However I also believe that more people are finding it much harder to summon that effort, considering how much easier it is to e-mail. What we have now is the compromise: mail merge! Ahh, wonderful mail merge, fooling people (who don't understand computers) for as long as it takes them to work word. Instant messaging services.

The global version of chat... MSN, ICQ, and all the other lovely TLA's. I use them both, but ICQ is the most interesting of all, for one feature: history. Unlike the history in Internet Explorer (deleted most boring evenings, if you get my meaning) - I keep the history on ICQ. It's fascinating, because it's the most accurately named feature I've ever seen. What you have laid out for you is your entire history with a particular person, depending on whether you know them in real life, whatever that means.

So you can scroll through it, and unlike real life - where unimportant details are omitted from your memory, everything is saved: everything you and your friend have ever said to one another. Arguments become lawyer-clinical statements, as nothing said is to be forgotten - mistakes and accusations will stand, word-perfect. You can't re-read a phone call, but you can with phone technology. Chat.

Oh, dear, dear chat. I'm a fan of Yahoo chat myself. Now they say reading helps you to become a better speller, and more grammatically correct. I think that's true. By that rationale, you'd think that because the internet is mostly about presenting the written word, and the primary means of communication to one another through the internet is via the keyboard - that people would, like the well read, excellently express themselves in chat. Not true.

Very, very not true. It's like our sending letters compared to sending emails situation. People don't get accurate; they get lazy. It's understandable why, of course - it being a large effort to type out what would be simple to say - hence voice chat. Nope, language gets perverted, m 8. LOL, what @ j / k .

And the topics themselves are slim... ." hey any guys wanna chat w/ a 17/F/AL? If so pm me " Or, my personal favourite:" hey ladies " And the humble colon, now never used unless to precede a bracket. And I really liked punctuation. It is very, very hard to find a chat room that actually observes its supposed topic, for instance, the Electronica room is just full of what every other room is full of, I quote a small section (omitting colour):" spiritual chic 01: so whats everyone up to? /:' 82: well this is: I don't think it: nothing aphrodite 69 ca: good"I was once scalded in the "Movies: 1" room for commenting on how absolutely no-one was discussing the topic - to be told that "room 1 is for general chat - room 2 is where they chat movies." Silly me. It's not like classic, over-the-fence gossip, and for a key reason. These chat room conversations, 90% of the time, do not actually lead anywhere.

They " re not actually conversations, merely an accumulation of colourful pointless statements, and I mean 'pointless', often simply spurious multi colour garbage. The problem is that people are too different. And a lot of people, too bored to form opinions of their own, are now easily able to communicate with those who are - and are doing so via a means that requires much more effort than regular speech (ie: more boredom). It surprises me why more people don't use voice chat - yet so saying, if all the people on chat did have 'mics', conversations would be impossible: twenty people talking to each other via low quality microphones and five second delays. This is not even mentioning the 'DJ's u ffixed masses that clog voice chat with tinny trance music 24/7. People have brought out the worst in each other.

Phone technology needs to advance, and fast. The problem lies in the fact that although new technologies are available, it takes years for phone providers to make them accessible enough and cheap enough for everyone. Until everyone is using faster technology, the Internet cannot be designed with faster technology in mind. Though it's impressive, mans ability to better its creations, impressive how we " re able to better communicate these days, one critical problem is becoming particularly clear: Most of the people we are now able to talk with, aren't actually worth talking to.