I find it difficult nowadays to resist from connecting to the internet, due to the fact that majority of things in this day in age requires some sort of internet interaction. As an incoming freshman, I grew up using the internet for almost everything such as school projects, communicating with people or using it for pure entertainment. Life before the internet can be (blurry) now because of the significance that it has today. How did the generation of my parents function without the invention of the internet?
The concept that created the internet was called the “Galactic Network” concept created by J. C. R Licklider from MIT where he was the first head of the computer research program – DARPA. From there, more people got involved with the project until the internet was finally commercialized after several years. In 1995, the FNC passed a resolution recognizing and defining what the internet is. Soon after, the the internet went live to the public on August 6th, 1991. When it was first released, many people did not even know of its existence or were confused on what it was. Eventually people began to get on board to the point where we have 3.17B users connected.
The first form of internet in the typical household setting came in the form of Dial-Up. Users connected their phones into their modems in order to access the world wide web. Reaching top speeds of about fifty-six kilobytes per second, the internet has since increased in popularity and in speed. Companies such as Netzero and American Online were the top internet providers during this era.
The internet has come a long way since its first days where a couple of people had access to it, to the present where it has three-hundred and seventeen billion users (statista).With an increase in popularity came a demand for faster internet speeds. After the Dial-Up era was over, internet providers shifted to Broadband and Fiber Optics as upgrades from Dial-Up. Reaching top speeds of 1,000 megabytes per second (with Google Fiber), internet speeds have grown (exponentially) faster since its birth. Things such as downloading movies or streaming HD videos are a thing that could have never happened with the internet speeds of the past.
While there is a paradigm shift from the way the that the internet was used before and the way that we use it today, sub-paradigm shifts exist where the internet has altered traditions that have been set in stone for years.
So long are the days of sending letters by snail mail and waiting to get your response back a few days later. With the internet, this traditional process is slowly being eliminated through e-mail. Take a look at the Unites States Postal Service for example. Their business has declined drastically because of e-mails sent through the internet. In 2011, USPS struggled financially to make a 5.5B dollar payment almost forcing them to shut down during the winter. Because of their financial woes, USPS considered eliminating Saturday delivery, shutting down 3.7K post offices and laying off about 120,000 workers. If we compare the internet vs. the traditional snail mail procedure, you can conclude that the internet provides a faster, convenient form minus the physical article that snail mail provides.
Now if we analyze communication today, has the internet brought us together or pushed us even farther apart? That is a question where you can argue on both sides. With the internet came the eruption of the digital age, introducing social media platforms such as Snapchat,
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. While these platforms have done a great job “connecting” one use to another, what has it done for people skills overall? It is possible for friends to all be “hanging-out” yet, they are still utilizing social media via their cell phones. According to Forbes magazine, about 7 percent of communication is established through verbal or written word. This equates to 93 percent of communication being nonverbal. This is where people frown down upon social media because people become too accustomed to communicating via a computer rather than just meeting up and discussing an issue.
Because the internet has increased in popularity and speed, the birth of online gaming came to no surprise. Outlets such as Microsoft’s Xbox Live (Xbox 360 and One), Sony’s Playstation Network (Playstation 3 and 4), Steam, Blizzard’s World of Warcraft and even Riot’s League of Legends connect users all around the world in order to play against one another. Because success and popularity of these platforms, the term eSports is known throughout the world where user compete on professional teams to win games for prizes. So long are the days of going to your friends house and playing games.
Because of the internet, productivity and the way that we perform tasks have changed drastically, creating a new type of setting in homes and schools around the globe.
When you enter a typical home setting, how many of the devices are actually connected to the internet? From phones, laptops, desktops, televisions, dvd players, tablets and now even refrigerators- a hefty amount of our devices are actually connected. This goes to show the shift the internet has created. How many people seven to ten years ago can say that they could watch YouTube videos on their televisions or say that they own a SMART refrigerator?
From the house into the exemplary school setting, it is now considered “untraditional” not to use the internet for your daily functions. As a student at The Pennsylvania State University, the internet can be considered a necessity because of all the business you need to conduct using it. As a student, the internet is a top resource because of all the things you can matrial you can acquire from it. From watching educational videos on YouTube, looking up sources for research or getting help on homework assignment; it can be considered a “disadvantage” not to utilize the internet for everything that it has to offer. Even if you do not use the internet normally, Penn State forces students to conduct some business online such as scheduling classes, adding extra LionCash to your card, or even sending e-mails to your professors. Because of this, the internet has created an easier more efficient way to communicate and store information -which is the reason why we utilize is so heavily today.
In (retrospect), since we use the internet so much to perform our daily tasks, how much time do we actually stay connected each day? The average internet user spends about 1.72 hours while adults spend about one hour connected to the internet each day.
While the internet may be a great thing, users still find find ways to use it in a negative manner. According to GoGulf.com, about 565 million people fall victim to cybercrime each year with 18 new victims every second.
With the internet, came the integration of cyber crime and theft. Because the internet has the ability to conceal identities, hackers and scammers have the advantage in compromising sensitive information such as credit cards and social security information.
Even though many people enjoy the internet, some people may enjoy it too much.According to USA today, about 14% of the youth in China are addicted to the internet.
Aside from the negative aspects, the internet can be used for great things.
Personally, I find it hard to imagine a world where the internet did not exist. But what about the generation of our parents who either chose to learn it or stuck to their old-fashioned ways?
As for the millennial generation, it is hard to not find a millennial without internet interaction. For the generation that grew up using the internet, it is to no surprise that millennials are already so accustomed to this way of life. With the introduction of the digital age, a huge shift came from the ease of interacting digitally rather than peer to peer interaction, all through social media. How many times have you found a millennial teaching their parents how to use the internet?
On the contrast you have the parental generation who did not grow up with the internet, instead they were introduced to the internet at a later stage with the option to learn how to use it or to ignore its existence. Because of the revolution in the digital age, it seems like everyone is going to have to get on board at one point.
With the eruption came a revolution in the digital age or a push to make everything done in a digital manner. The digital age can be accredited for all of convenience that it brings. Things such as online banking and shopping have increased in popularity because of the convenience that each service provides. Why is there a need to go to the bank when you can make all of your transactions with three taps on your phone? What is the reason behind the increase in online sales? Outlets such as Amazon and Ebay are internet giants because of the way that they connect users to essential products every day.
Because of the internet, we can connect instantaneously, share our ideas to multitudes of people and even find all of the information that our hearts desire. The internet has changed the way we do research, gather information and even communicate. Even though the internet can be a dangerous place, the positive aspects outshine all the negatives. In the future, I envision the internet to continue to get faster with the hope that it will be able to support 90% of the world’s population connecting to the internet.
The internet has come a long way since its birth; acquiring faster speeds, gaining a user base of almost half of the world’s population and being a hub for business transactions. It is safe to say that the internet is one of the biggest things during this era and it has many more successful years ahead of it. My only question is, what’s the next big thing for this era?