It’s hard to imagine life without the Internet, but even as little as a decade ago, it was not nearly as large a part of our daily lives as it is today. Can you believe that the Internet is now over 40, and used by 1.5 billion people around the world? Just like with any new, innovative, ground-breaking technology, there are some truly awful things that have come along with the Internet as well as some truly great things. Here, we concentrate on ten of the most awesome things the Internet has provided to the general public at large.
1. New Methods of Communications
Remember when “you’ve got mail!” meant you’d run outside to the mailbox to see what letters, bills, and magazines awaited you? Now, those three little words have taken on a totally different connotation. Unlike postal mail, you can check your email inbox as many times a day as you’d like, and usually you’ll find something new, sometimes exciting, sometimes strange, but almost always interesting or entertaining in your inbox. It’s a great way to foster instant communication with folks around the world, and loved by businesspeople and friends alike.
When online education was in its infancy, it was looked down upon by the large universities as not being real education. Now, however, entire revered universities exist solely online. The education that one can find on the Internet often rivals the education provided by any traditional brick-and-mortar college or university. And it’s not just at the post-secondary level that education on the Internet is beneficial. Students of all ages, from pre-kindergarten through graduate school, can find useful, educational websites on the Internet.
Whether or not you think it’s a good thing, just think how easy it is now to look up something, anything, on the Internet. It could be something simple like a person’s address or phone number, an answer to a burning trivia question in your household (like who won American Idol in its third season?) or just about anything else you can think of. Chances are, if you have a question of any sort or are in need of any kind of information, you can find it online. Encyclopedias have gone by the wayside.
4. Helped us to Save Money
Ebay, Amazon.com, Walmart.com, Ovestock.com, Buy.com, the list goes on and on. With all of the purchasing choices available on the Internet, you almost don’t have to ever leave the house to buy just about anything you want! Price comparison sites have flourished as well, enabling you to research a product online to find the best price, then purchase it either online or offline, whichever suits you (and your wallet) best.
5. Provided a Sense of Community
Facebook and social networking is a phenomenon that you either love or hate. Whether you embrace it or despise it, you can’t deny that Facebook, My Space, Linked In and the dozens of other social networking sites have taken over our lives to a great extent. How many times per day do you check Facebook to see what your “friends” are up to? Even better, how many of those “friends” are really not “friends” but rather “acquaintances” or “some guy I met at the pub five years ago?” The Internet is a small, small world, made even smaller when you find such “friends” on Facebook.
6. Given us so many Entertainment Options
With the advent of the Internet, man or woman need never be bored again. There is so much proliferation of all sorts of entertainment available online. From You Tube to I tunes to online gaming to adult and porn sites, our leisure time online is now totally booked. If you’re on the Internet and complain of being bored, just hit a different website and that feeling will go away.
7. Gives anyone the chance to say anything about anyone or anything
These days, anybody with a blog can write anything they want about anyone. Well, almost. But it’s true that many of us now air our dirty laundry, clean laundry, and mundane details of our daily lives on weblogs, more commonly known as blogs. If you have something to say, say it on your blog.
On the Internet, you can book airline flights, buy concert tickets, book your entire trip down to the hotel room and rental car, check the balances on your financial accounts, start new financial accounts, check your child’s grades in school…. the list goes on and on. The Internet has made it so convenient to do many things that were time-consuming and quite tedious before.
9. Changed the world of business, marketing
Those of us who freelance for a living can attest to the fact that the Internet has revolutionized marketing and business. It is now possible for someone living in Timbuktu to work for someone living in Kansas, yet never meet that person face-to-face. It’s also possible to market yourself to a wide variety of different types of people, much more so than before the advent of the Internet. Because of the Internet, business and marketing will never be the same– thank goodness!
10. Enhanced safety
While some may argue that the Internet has taken away our safety to an extent (what with making it easy to get personal, private information on anyone) it has also increased our safety. It is now possible, for example, to do a background check on a potential date before ever meeting him or her. We are also notified of things like when a child predator moves into our neighborhood, of school closings and delays, and of emergencies both in our local communities and around the world, all with the touch of a mouse or the click of a button on our Internet-enabled smart phones. We can even monitor what our children do on the Internet and filter websites to protect them from things they should not see. We really do live in a much safer world, thanks to the Internet.