The internet is so ubiquitous that we often overlook how much of an impact it has had on everyday life. We’re just so close to technology that getting perspective is challenging. When we do, we begin to see just how radical it is. The rise of the internet hasn’t been all good, but on balance, it’s had a positive impact. While we tend to focus on the less-than-good aspects, we think it’s a good idea to celebrate the benefits that it has brought. So let’s do that. Just how has the internet changed people’s lives for the better? Let’s find out.
Can you imagine trying to communicate with friends and family back home if you took a trip in, say, 1800? You could write a letter, but it’d be a while before it arrived — and the same amount of time for one to reach you in return. Today, you can pick up the device in your pocket and send an instantaneous message to loved ones all over the world. If you yearn for the disconnected life, then you can simply switch off your device, and just like that, you’re unreachable. It’s the best of both worlds, basically.
People that live in cosmopolitan cities take for granted that they’ll have access to pretty much everything that the world has to offer. But that hasn’t always been the case in more rural areas. In the pre-internet era, those people would have to wait until they took a trip before they could experience some aspects of life that didn’t make it to their local area. The internet changed that. If you live in Wyoming, you can stream blockbuster movies that historically did not make it to Wyoming on the first day of release. People in New Zealand that don’t live close to a casino no longer have to plan a trip to Christchurch; there’s online gambling in New Zealand to fill the gap. The internet has become much more than a way for people to find information. It’s become a tool for them to have experiences that just didn’t used to be possible.
There are plenty of financial advantages that wouldn’t be possible without the web. For example, rather than consumers having to pay whatever price the local shop is charging for a product, they can look online and find a deal. That can amount to serious savings, especially for big expenses, like buying furniture for your home or a new car. The internet also allows people to set up side hustle businesses and to get free content that historically you would need to pay for. There are a lot of excellent videos on sites like YouTube and Vimeo!
The internet has also opened a whole new world of work for many people. In the olden days, someone who wanted to work in a creative field would likely have to move to a cosmopolitan city to find a job. Today, those jobs are online — they can work from a beach in the same way as they would work in an office. It liberated the workforce in many ways, who get to dictate the life they want rather than what the market decides.
Finally, the web has made it possible to discover new interests that would have been possible but more difficult in days gone by. No matter where you live, you can get access to all of the world’s music, movies, and, well, just about everything, just with a few clicks of a button. That’s a huge and positive shift we should be thankful for!