It always amazes me how much my life and the business world has changed over the past few years because of the Internet. I shop online, research products, read the news, watch YouTube videos, play games, keep in touch with friends and family, and I even spend some time blogging. I did some of this 5 years ago, but every year it seeems that I spend more andmore time on the Internet. At first glance that would seem like a bad thing...
But, interestingly enough, I find myself:
• paying more attention to current events (because of reading the news more often on the Internet)
• reading more books (because I found good reviews on the Internet)
• listening to more music (that I downloaded off the Internet)
• practicing more piano(because I'm more inspired by above music)
• composing more piano music (because I've been practicing more)
• watching more TV (because I can keep up with episodes I missed on the Internet)
• being closer to old friends and family (because of email)
Am I the norm or the exception? According to a not so recent report from 2005 on about.com, an estimated 1 billion people will use theInternet in 2006. That includes 200 million Americans. So, maybe I am the norm?
But, what about the future? My kids can't imagine the time before we had personal computers. They can imagine life without the Internet, but they've had it for as long as they can remember. I can barely remember owning a black and white TV and can't remember growing up without a TV. What will the world be like 30years from now when my kids are my age? It's almost scary to think about it...
I've used the Internet for about ten year now. Before the "web" with all its pictures, streaming video and audio, before online Wheel of Fortune and instant polls. I started using the Internet when it was a system of interconnected computers being used to share news, information and opinion in a black and white(well...black with green) text-based "Usenet." The news groups, both moderated and free, were the backbone of knowledge sharing. I began subscribing to news groups in order to find out how my company was doing in the wireless telecommunications business. I found out public opinion, researched new technology for my department, sent interesting bits of information on cloning phones to our Fraud group,and occasionally read groups that were more entertainment oriented when the boss wasn't looking. It was an incredible way to keep up with the "soaps" without having to tape the shows each day.
Over the years the Internet has become a more sophisticated information provider and my needs have changed dramatically. I still get industry information on a daily basis and once in a while check in on thesoaps. Now the information comes from the horse's mouth. I don't rely on Sally watching "Days" and telling all the groupies what happened in Salem that day. The "Days" website not only tells us, but links to all the fan sites that you could ever want. In addition, many of the software applications my department provides to the rest of our company, can now be accessed through web-based front ends.Users can flip through online hyperlinked reference books instead of six 3-inch binders on their desk; and all of our human resources information can be accessed at the click of a mouse. Instead of feeling like a spy on a secret mission, everything I need is delivered directly to my computer.
More importantly, though, is how the Internet has changed my personal life. Like many people, I did muchof my birthday and holiday shopping online this year. Sometimes it felt a little impersonal to choose a gift and have it sent without my personal attention to wrapping paper, ribbons and bows. Then I reminded myself that at least they were getting their gifts in the same timeframe as their birthday! I'm such a procrastinator that sometimes a beautifully wrapped gift sits on my dining table for...