The internet is a marvel to behold. A vast network of links spanning the globe with one purpose, to connect. Human beings have never been so connected as they are today. How we choose to use it will determine its impact, but we’ve already come a long way using the internet as a tool to spread awareness and educate, a fertile ground for art, science, culture and everything under the sun.
A better life through access to information
At no other time have we had access to the volume and quality of information as can be found today on the internet. In comparison with print, television, word of mouth and radio, the Internet makes finding and accessing information so incredibly convenient it hardly takes any effort. Our ability to bring so many different advances in technology together to make the largest pool of knowledge ever accumulated available to such a high percentage of us on the planet is nothing short of astounding. At no other time in history have we been able to pull a handheld computer out of our pockets and find out just about anything we’d like in that very moment. What we’re actually doing with this technology is perhaps a little underwhelming at the moment, but we have the freedom to improve our lives with access to knowledge, and that is a wonderful thing. Check the top searches on the Internet to get some idea as to what we’re using the the pinnacle of human achievement for.
Access to the internet gives people a voice
Before the advent of the internet it was necessary to have influence to have one’s voice heard by many. Getting an idea or story published, speaking to a large crowd, or airing one’s ideas on TV or radio all require privileged access and resources to wield. The internet allows ordinary citizens with good ideas to share them with success based on the merits of the idea or story. It does take some doing to share an idea or story with a great many people, but using dedicated websites, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and other resources makes this part of the process accessible to anyone willing to put their time, energy and wits to task. For example in our neck of the woods here in Bend, Oregon, a blogger by the name of Allie Brosh was able to establish herself as an influence on many people’s lives writing blog articles about her life and experiences. She started simply enough writing posts for her blog Hyperbole and a Half. With hard work, dedication and some talent she was able to develop a loyal following and even publish a popular book. The internet gives opportunity to those who have something valuable to share instead of reserving this power for the privileged few.
Easier to participate in common activities
Although some people would argue that technology has alienated us from each other, others believe that we’re experiencing growing pains in adapting ourselves to these new social environments. Social networking can be a quick fix that gives the illusion of social connection. That said, I can also tell you that my mom went from being afraid of technology to a rather enthusiastic supporter and enthusiast. She has a smart phone, uses text messaging, Facebook and email, and she’s used this technology to extend her participation in the lives of family, old friends and new alike. She engages with people she would not normally find time for and especially stays in touch with friends and family out of the country with much greater ease. Sites like Meetup.com allow people with like interests to find each other and plan events together. Ebay and Craigslist allow people to make more efficient use of their things instead of letting them pile up and gather dust. There’s a great deal going on, and much to offer those seeking to participate in activities they are drawn to.