I remember...

William Gibson laments on the replacement of basic conversational knowledge by online references.

I think that's one of those *very* basic things that have recently changed on us. References used to be there to be "gotten" more than Googled. Google edges reference (in the "knowing" conversational sense) ever closer to name-checking and shout-out. Everything has already migrated halfway to hyperlink.

It's true that I am relying less and less on my own memory and more and more on services like del.icio.us, GMail's archive, my Google web history and my shared and starred items from Google Reader. I know, though, that, barring network outages, I now have total recall within a few clicks.

If I see an article, a programming tip, a funny comic or video clip, I know that I'll have access to it for as long as it available online, that I can share it easily with others and that I can access it from anywhere with an internet connection.

Besides, even in a disconnected environment, I still feel that I know more now than I would do without access to these tools. Exposure to them in the first place means exposure to far more information and knowledge than would otherwise be possible. These online references are augmenting, not replacing, general knowledge.


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