I’ve noticed it in myself, but also in a lot of my friends, that the internet is kind of taking the place of our fathers. Skills I never learned growing up I am teaching myself more or less via the internet. The internet has helped me learn proper weightlifting better, exercise programming, how to diagnose and fix car problems, how to tie knots for rock climbing, where to rock climb, which bands are good…. the list goes on and on. Granted, many of these things are not things my own dad knew and just didn’t tell me, but they are still skill sets that I want to learn.
I started thinking about this after reading one of those “man skills” articles. Part of me thinks those are silly, but then again, most of those skills have indeed come in handy, or probably will. Sabre-ing (Sabring?) open a champagne bottle has proven useful I guess.
I’m not so sure if this is a good or bad thing-I’m glad that I’ve been exposed to a whole world of information and hobbies that I might not have seen living without the internet, but at the same time, just as I believe that Facebook and most other social media somewhat cheapens friendships, the internet is a life skills book sold at a discount store. All the skills I know, I feel like I know fairly superficially. Sure I can tie a tie several ways, but I don’t have cool stories behind how/why I learned. When I learned how to finally tie a Figure 8 know correctly it was under the tutelage of a fellow climber, not some dumb website. While I can replace most any part in my car, diagnosing the problem can be extremely difficult, and at times I can get lost without an internet tutorial. Learning stuff online robs us the interaction with another human, which I would guess makes things probably stick a little better.
I’d imagine a lot of these problems aren’t that new- I was working on my first car long before I could ask the internet what was wrong, and I still had diagnosis problems- The internet could have filled in where my knowledge/intuition lacked, thus fixing said problems. I feel that thanks to the web, there are going to be a lot of people who know just a little bit about a lot of things. I suppose this diversification of human knowledge is safer in a way- people might be more able to fend for themselves, but at the same time, I wish that I could specialize in my life a little better- get really good at one or two skills, and maybe hire the rest out. That’s capitalism!