It is hard to imagine life without the internet. Actually, I am old enough to do just that.
But it is amazing the effect that the internet has had on our lives. Believe it or not, there are still many people who don’t even own a PC – but that number is dwindling each year. It brings to mind all of the technological benefits of the internet age. My life has certainly changed within the past thirty years due to the internet and it’s a fine time to reflect on the impact it has had over its lifespan so far.
1. Modes of Communication
I remember when there were basically three different modes of communication: face-to-face communication, telephone conversation, and snail mail. Today, email is the preferred method of communication. It is an indirect method that most people prefer. Your recipient can either choose to respond or not – and you have conveyed your message without needing to have direct communication. In the internet age we also have VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol – popularized primarily with the emergence of Skype and Google Voice), instant messaging and texting. Texting has usurped email as the main type of communication with young people. Instant messaging is still being used in the business world, while Skype and Google Voice are used for personal and business communication.
2. Online Banking
The only time I write a check now is for a gift at a christening or a wedding. If you haven’t started online banking, you should definitely consider it. I’ve been online banking for at least the past ten years and I absolutely love it. The reasons for doing so are numerous, such as:
- You don’t have to be constantly writing out checks to pay your bills, licking envelopes, and buying postage.
- You can easily pay your regular bills like mortgage and car loan with a couple of clicks and the payments will be made electronically on the proper day to avoid late charges.
- You can also receive your bills electronically and an email will notify you when the bill arrives. Then, after logging into your bank website, you can schedule your bills to arrive on a given date.
Another great thing about online banking is that you can set up anyone as a recipient of funds. So, if you want to send a check to a relative you can do so online either by having a paper check mailed to them or directly depositing the money into their account.
3. Online Degrees
I could be considered an authority on online education as I just completed another college degree taking online classes exclusively. I just received my diploma in the mail last week and I never once visited the college. I am a huge proponent of online education. The benefits far outweigh any drawbacks – especially for anyone who works full-time – since the logistics of driving to and from class would simply be too time-consuming. There wasn’t even the hassle of having to go to the bookstore as I could order those online as well. Sure, there are some drawbacks – such as not having face-to-face interaction with classmates – but even that is possible if you want to Skype with them. If you have the inclination to go back to school for your degree, you should really consider taking an online degree. Take one class as a test drive; you will not regret it.
4. Online Training and Seminars
I remember a time that the only way you could get training on the job was either by going to a training class or having a trainer come into your workplace. Well, the landscape has certainly changed here. Webinars have become extremely popular in the internet age, bringing together a virtual class online. Gone are the travel costs for both the trainer and the trainee, which lowers the cost for the class itself. Anyone can basically put together a training class from the comfort of their own home with tools such as GoToMeeting. I regularly schedule GoToMeeting training classes with foreign counterparts and customers.
There were days when you wanted to learn more about a particular subject you would open a book, an encyclopedia or a dictionary. At my house, we always had a full collection of World Book Encyclopedias. When the end of each year came, we would receive the edition that chronicled that particular year. To this day I use a dictionary and thesaurus on a daily basis – but now they live online and not on my bookshelf. Today, we have lightning fast search engines that can give us thousands of links based on specific keywords. Just yesterday I used the internet to scope out farmer’s markets in my neck of the woods. Not only did I find a local one, but I got directions on how to get there.
My brother, a professor at a prestigious liberal arts college on the West Coast of the US , has written text books in the area of Government and Political Science. He has told me that with the advent of the internet age, the manner in which he does his research for his books has changed dramatically. In the past, he would have to go to a library to do his research. Today all of this research is done online, in the comfort of his own office. His main concern is to be conscious of sites with faulty information. Fortunately for him, his research is typically done on legitimate government and political science websites – so that is a minor concern.
7. Buying Online
If you can’t find it in a local store, you can always find it online. A case in point is that I recently could not find canned pumpkin anywhere in local stores. My wife uses pumpkin to make pumpkin breads, pumpkin ravioli and for other baking needs. It appears that there is a pumpkin shortage in the United States due to excessive rain. So, I mentioned to my wife that we should try to find it online – and we did. We were able to order a case of canned pumpkin for a fairly reasonable price. If you can’t find it at a local store, chances are you can find it online.
The internet age has completely redefined how we work. The ability to sit in your home office while connecting to all of the same resources as if you were in your work office is a reality in today’s workplace. This has allowed people like me to avoid a two and a half hour commute on the days that I am allowed to telecommute. The time savings, gas savings and the wear and tear on my car (and on me) is a huge gain. There is nothing I can do at work that I cannot do at home – other than walk over to somebody’s office. As mentioned previously, I use GoToMeeting if I need to meet with someone and share my computer.
9. Freelance Writing
With the popularity of the internet, there has been an explosion in online content. As a result of this, there has been a huge boon in freelance writing. Opportunities exist as never before in this area. If you love to write and are good at it, chances are you can find an online presence that will pay for your services. I have had the good fortune of doing just that for this very popular blog, which happens to be based halfway across the world. Being able to develop a portfolio of your work, and get paid for it, is a tremendous opportunity in the online world.
10. Worldwide media accessibility
The internet has opened up all users to worldwide media. Internet radio is accessible to anyone in the world connected to the internet. An example of this is that the other morning my wife (of Greek descent) was going to put on some Greek CDs on the stereo as she cooked for a large group that was visiting later in the day. I suggested to her that we should search the internet for a Greek radio site. We quickly found a Greek radio website that had links of roughly fifty different radio stations, most of which were music stations. We found a radio station based in Thessaloniki, Greece, which is where her mother was born. I hooked up some cheap $5 speakers to my laptop and we were able to enjoy hours of Greek music, at no cost. My wife was flabbergasted with the quality of the sound and the variety of the music.
These are just some of what I call “life-changing” advancements of the internet age. The productivity and personal gains that the internet has given to the world are tremendous. This list is not meant to be comprehensive but these are some of my favorites. I am fortunate in that I am able to remember what life was without these conveniences.
I sometimes wonder if the young people of today can truly appreciate the gifts that the internet has bestowed upon us.
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I agree. The internet has changed how we live, work and communicate.
What I like about the internet is the instant nature of the web. The ability to market to the whole world. The ability to communicate with everyone in every country. The interconnected nature of the web, everything is connected to each other.
I agree wholeheartedly. Good point about world connectivity. My example of being able to access Greek radio at any time of the day is mind boggling. Thanks for your comment.
Just curious as to what colleges you would recommend for online degrees? There are a number of choices out there, but not to sure about their reputations, accreditation, etc.
I don’t claim to be an expert on online colleges but I can certainly recommend the college where I got my online degree. It was University of Massachusetts Lowell which is based in Lowell, Massachusetts, USA. In my degree program we had students from all over the world. It was very interesting corresponding with them. At times it was difficult to arrange a chat session due to the time differences but it could be worked out. To learn more about this college you can go to http://continuinged.uml.edu/online/ .
By the way, I have also heard very good things about Boston University and the University of Phoenix. Do some internet searching and researching and you should be able to be able to find some reputable online college programs. Good luck in your quest.
When I look at the dates I’m rather late in arriving here… still I would like to say that I agree with you fully. I am of an age to have known the world without internet – without computers, even, but can hardly imagine it any more. Only last week some handymen drilling holes out on our street managed to cut through my complete telephone and internet lines and I was left blinded to the world with only my mobile phone… ouch! It is at such moments that you realize how much it has all become a part of our life…
That’s quite a fine kick-in-the-pants when you lost your internet connection. It’s amazing how the internet has changed our lives.
This is a great article and I agree with every point, almost entirely. The one that kind of irks me, and I think it’s because they are hard to find, is the one about online degrees. Being a full time, 40+ hours a week worker, it’s hard to get to a physical institution. I have been searching for good online degree programs with no avail. The same places keep coming up. I think this is one category that could be expanded on. Where do we look for programs? What schools do we avoid?
Thanks for the compliment and I’m going to direct you to my response to Simon in one of the previous comments. I think, in the area of colleges with online degrees, you simply have to do your homework. Go to sites that list them and you could probably get some referrals from previous students. The couple I listed in my response to Simon, are very reputable and the one I went to was outstanding and I recommend it highly. The huge advantage when you work full-time is not having to physically go to the college. The logistics of having to do that just don’t work, especially if you have a family as well. If the same places keep coming up, it may be that they are the best. If you call the school they should be able to direct you to past students of the online degree program. If you need some more help just contact me using the Contact Me page of my blog.
this is a great article, it had all the main points i needed to get started on my research paper. thanks for taking the time to write this.
I’m glad I could help you out with your research paper. Having recently completed another bachelors degree I can feel your pain. I hope I made your task a little bit easier. Good luck with that!
The web has drastically changed the way that I communicate. Email and social media have become my primary means of communication. The telephone is still helpful at times, however, and I have really come to appreciate the services that Google Voice provides. While phones are essential, they aren’t very efficient. Google Voice has helped to sync all of my phone lines together and connect them to my workflow. I put together a list of my “top 10 Google Voice Tricks” that others might find helpful and can be viewed here: http://electriceducator.blogspot.com/2010/12/10-google-voice-tricks-that-will-rock.html
Can you please give me some 5 good points of internet services and their benefits to an organization, not an individual this time around.
Looking forward to hearing from you.
I like this wep site it has alot of info and i am using it to write a report on how the internet change the world and its going go thanks to this wepsite
Hey, you’re article is great. I was looking for something that for once was looking at the bright side of internet for an essay I had to write for English class (“positive influence the internet had on your lives”).
Having written so many critical essays about progress in technology before, it was hard for me to look at it in a positive way, but you completely convinced me!
Thanks for that.
I love the information you give us as my ten meter has to search the internet and I found all what I want in this formidale quotes. and I thank you for this information really thank you
well for me internet has have very crucial things in this world why communication,window in the world you can easily have your information if you to know about the things that you wanted to know anything under the sun the net is the most cheap rigth now that the children adult can used nowadays so for me internet is crucialy help us in a simple ways
Always nice to refresh our memories about those dark ages when people did not have the Internet.
To me the best of the best that the web is providing is information finding and EXPANDING YOUR MIND.
I remember going to the library to find THE one book about that one topic. And to get more information, you had to wait days and days for the library to get the latest book ordered and delivered (after it had been registered in the database)….
So everybody say “Thank You Tim Berners Lee”.
This really helped me for my research paper! THANKS!!!