I had this letter published in the Wall Street Journal. I can’t find the article by senior WSJ writer G. Pascal Zachary that I was responding to, but he was bemoaning the move toward electronic communications.
Wall Street Journal
200 Liberty St.
New York, NY 10281
June 29, 1994
Letter to the Editor
Re: G. Pascal Zachary’s “Cry of the Luddite” (WSJ 6/27/94).
The Information Highway can’t possibly turn us into a nation of “electronic shut-ins.” We already are electronic shut-ins. The culprit is an innocuous-looking device called “television.”
The news media love to focus on sex chat, but the truth is that on-line social interaction runs the gamut from scientific debates to flights of fantasy, from “ask the experts” advice to 12-step support groups, from routine business meetings to political activism. Bart Ziegler’s “Electronic Roundtable” gives a taste of one kind of discussion that on-line forums make possible. For a much broader look at the spectrum of on-line activity, see Howard Rheingold’s recent book, The Virtual Community.
If this new medium can steal a bit of our attention away from television, it will help to turn us from passive consumers into active participants. It has the potential to get us talking to each other again. This might not solve all the world’s problems, but it seems to me like a step in the right direction.
David R. Woolley