There will always be those for whom the Internet as a whole represents nothing more than a step in a worrying and indeed ‘wrong’ direction. Mercifully, such individuals represent the most fractionally insignificant percentile of modern society – the rest of us fully appreciating how the web has changed the world for the better.
For those old enough to remember what life was like before the Internet, it’s almost impossible to accurately explain how different things were. Not only did things like Google and Facebook not exist at all just 30 years ago, but there wasn’t even such a thing as text messaging! Imagine the horror of actually having to make relatively expensive phone calls, or perhaps even go to a person’s house every time you wanted to talk to them! And when you think about swapping e-mail for a time when only snail-mail existed…well, it’s clearly the stuff of nightmares, isn’t it?
But jokes aside and stepping away from pure laziness, there’s really no denying the fact that the Internet has revolutionised the world in so many exceptionally positive ways. Opinions may very, but it’s hard to deny that the following changes have been anything but advantageous:
1 – Finding ‘The One’
First up, finding a date these days is literally as easy as opening up an app, whacking a few details in and letting technology find a match within a few-hundred metres of your current location. In the past, finding ‘the one’ meant months, years or decades of hard work and effort. Today, it takes a thumb and a touch screen…that’s it!
2 – Breaking Up With ‘The One’
And of course, if you decide that said individual doesn’t in fact turn out to be ‘the one’ at all, the web has made calling it off way easier than ever. From social media to instant messaging and simply changing your number, being mean and ignorant has never been easier.
3 – Shopping for Literally Anything
At first, online shopping was a quaint novelty. A little later, it became a genuine rival for the High Street. As of now, it’s literally possible to buy anything and everything the world has to offer with nothing more than a few clicks. And what’s more, shopping online for literally anything imaginable also tends to be way cheaper than the old-fashioned alternative. Mercifully, the web has also made applying for credit cards and personal loans faster and easier than it has ever been!
4 – Booking Holidays
Don’t fancy paying a travel agent to sort out your trip on your behalf? No problem – these days, the web allows anyone wishing to do so to book directly with largely any transportation and accommodation provider in the world, meaning access to infinite DIY holiday packages and the lowest ever prices.
5 – Video Gaming
There was a time when multiplayer video gaming meant finding time when your friends could head over to your place for a maximum four-player blast around a rather sketchy-looking track. These days however, online gaming has enabled tens of millions of gamers from all over the world to come together at any time and play the kinds of games that are more immersive and realistic than multi-million-dollar special-effect-laden movies of the early 90s.
6 – Homework
Hard to believe as it may be, there was a time just a few decades ago when researching anything whatsoever meant a painstaking process of heading out to actual libraries and rooting through dozens of books for hours on end. Even just finding a single usable quote could take days…homework was NOT an easy job in times gone by. These days, with the likes of Google in your arsenal, researching anything from anywhere and at any given time is as simple as a keyword search and a click.
7 – Finding Someone’s Details
From finding lost friends to good old-fashioned stalking of exes, finding folk in general has never been easier. The following infographic created by telephone directory enquiries company Whitepages visually shows the positive impact that the Internet has had on the ability to find the details on someone – imagine how difficult it was before compared to today!
Image source: Whitepages – How to find someone with the edited Electoral Roll
8 – Access to Advice
Another genuinely great thing about the Internet of today is the way in which no matter who you are, what you are into, what kinds of problems you are having or what kind of advice you need, there’s a massive online community of others, just like you. From help with serious medical conditions to enormous groups of individuals who share your taste in music and fine wine, finding and conversing with those who are in many ways exactly like you is child’s play.
9 – Music and Media Access
A big one to say the least, try telling the kids of today there were once only four channels in the UK, no Internet, no cable TV, no such thing as DVDs and no streaming media. Chances are they absolutely won’t believe you – what on Earth did folk do with their time in such dark and evil ages? It’s totally understandable however as these days, streaming media and access to online content has rendered the classic video rental store well and truly obsolete. Which in its own right is something of a shame, but from a consumer perspective at least represents enormous convenience and a world of entertainment.
10 – Real-Time News and Gossip
Last but not least, there’s a very good reason why the ten o’clock news and the morning newspaper both used to be infinitely more popular and well-respected than they are today. And that’s quite simply because they were in fact the only sources of news available to the public. No matter what had been happening anywhere in the world and at any time, the public was reliant on these periodic sources of news to keep them up to date. These days, the vast majority of people are effectively wired to real-time news and gossip services on a 24/7 basis, meaning that when something of interest happens anywhere on earth, we find out about it quite literally in an instant.
Seriously – just think for a moment about a world where every single one of these conveniences is suddenly reversed.
Pretty scary, isn’t it?