Before, when you got mail,
It was a chap in a cap with a sack packed full;
Before, when you researched
You sat and sweated in a library that was just this side of dull;

And when you booked your holidays
You stood there in a queue
Behind a family of five and a pensioner or two
And life seemed so much slower, somehow;
There was acres of last week and just half a glimpse of now;

Today you click
On a mouse
And you can shop till you drop without leaving the house
And now you send
Your blogs
Right across the globe and the photos of your dogs
Can appear on your site in the twinkling of an eye
And in a tick you get a picture back of Grandma saying Hi!
Framed against the backdrop of a California sky…

And it’s been fifteen years from before to this
And now we’re living in a universe of constant cyber bliss!
And like the first fire in the cave
Or the first turning of The Wheel
The internet is changing how we think and speak and feel
And in the next fifteen years the net will turn and twist again
And go down murky sidestreets far beyond this Barnsley brain
And one thing’s certain: the net is here forever,
Constant as taxes, unpredictable as weather…

And before I’m dragged right under in a growing tide of spam
I’ve time for just this one last post: I click therefore I am!

© Ian McMillan, for BBC R4 Today, 7.8.06

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