As I sit down to write this, I realize that I am using my internet connection to write this post, stream my music, check my Facebook updates, pay bills online, and wait for a video call from a coworker. In my office chair, I am surrounded by everything that I need to function on a daily basis, and that’s thanks to the internet.
The internet celebrated its 25th birthday this year, and it has accomplished a lot by the middle of its twenties. According to Socialnomics, an estimated 2.4 billion people go online each day; 600 million websites are online; and 500 million Tweets are sent every day. The internet has completely transformed the way people live their lives, so what are the billions of people doing each day?
The internet allows us to “talk,” without ever having to get on the phone. It seems as if our phones are simply around so we can avoid the people we don’t want to talk to, while texting and tweeting the ones we do. Old flames are connecting; families are communicating more; friends never have to go without seeing each other; and professional connections can flourish. There has also been a spike in online dating; no more awkward pickup lines at the bar and strange blind dates set up by your friends, who are certain they found someone who is “perfect for you.”
When was the last time you bought something online? If you are like many of us, it was probably in the last week or even the last hour. We can read reviews, research ratings, find the best price, and pay for an item without having to put on shoes.
Video calling has been taken out of boardroom and put in the palm of our hands and on our home computers. We can connect with friends, family and coworkers in nearly every corner of the world. Face-to-face communication has also made it possible to connect with members of the military when they are away from home.
We can work while drinking coffee or going to the bathroom. The internet allows us to do more at once and from different devices. You can work in one screen, follow a recipe in another, and update social media.
Come on, we have all done it. Sometimes sites like WebMD reassure us that yes, in fact, we are as sick as we think we are. According to the Washington Post, 72% of users go online to self-diagnose, and 50% of doctors do as well. Let that sit with you for a moment.
Keeping up-to-date on everyone and everything
The internet has taken away the wonderment that is a personal life. We know everything about everyone, and at any given moment of the day. We know what our friends and our favorite celebrities had for breakfast.
We don’t have to stroll through the endless lines of movie rentals and CD cases. Thanks to the net, we can watch television and movies whenever we want, and we can listen to an endless supply of music. Not to mention, we don’t have to buy an entire CD just to listen to the only one good song.
Avoiding bank lines
Another favorite feature is online banking. With a click of a button, we can pay a good majority of our bills online, send people money, and request money from others. We don’t have to stand in long lines or wait a week for a check to clear. Apple Pay and Google Wallet have also made it easier to pay for goods and services without shuffling for the credit card.