There was once a time when the internet was connected through modem dialups moving at the speed of a slug. Limited content was available through the web, and while it was clear the internet would have a powerful impact on our lives, only those blessed with foresight could have imagined the profound change it was soon to bring. The internet is the great technological advancement of the last thirty years, as significant as radio and television. Its story is one of innovation, of progression.
A Silent Birth
When Sir Timothy Berners-Lee built his prototype system called ENQUIRE in the 1980s, based on the concept of hypertext, the idea was to develop an information sharing system for researchers. This was the start of the internet and while – with hindsight – the potential was obvious, one would be forgiven to have overlooked the invention as insignificant to their lives.
And yet, within the thirty years that followed, it slowly – and then very rapidly – changed everything.
Considering the time of ENRIQUE’s formation preceded even text messaging, the current nature and level of social interaction via the internet would have seemed akin to something out of a sci-fi movie.
From social media platforms to instant messaging methods the world has been made significantly smaller through the internet. Billions across the world are enwrapped in the likes of Facebook and Twitter where files, words and information can be exchanged between strangers on opposite sides of the globe. Indeed social media itself can justifiably be ranked alongside the greatest innovations of the past decade at least, with it even changing the way news is broken and spread.
The greatest indication to the profoundness of the impact of the internet’s social interaction can be found in the Arab Spring uprisings that began in December 2010; on which it has been said that the wave of revolutions was in part sparked and spread through social media. While it is unclear how much of an impact Twitter and Facebook had in mobilising the masses against the authoritarian regimes in the likes of Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Syria, that it was an active player in the protests cannot be disputed.
The Nature of Mobile Phones
We can now read news, watch videos, transfer content and information and do many more via our mobile phones, and it’s all thanks to the internet. Well admittedly, much is down to advancements in mobile technology; however the power of the internet can nonetheless be grasped through using what is now referred to as a smartphone.
Working from home can even be done via our phones. In fact, on that note, one can include the phenomenon of being able to do one’s work from home and keep in tune with what’s happening at work. This will supposedly move under the subtitle of: content and information sharing.
Content & Information Sharing
Being able to share content has emphatically altered the way we work. Documents can be submitted via email while the exchange of information through the internet has rendered is possible to interact with business clients, partners and colleagues without picking up a phone or leaving one’s seat.
Business documents can also be stored and accessed online, thus replacing the need for massive loads of paper files relating to every business transaction.
The impact of the internet on the way we watch television has been profound. Internet TV channels have enabled us to watch our favourite programs and films and even stream live sports on our computers. With the recent rise of the android TV box also rapidly occurring in correlation to advancements in internet enabled TVs, one can expect to see the impact of the internet on television intensifying over the next few years.
Looking to the Future
On that note, it ought to be pointed out that the profoundness of the internet on our lives will surely increase as time progresses. It must be remembered that the internet is still a fairly new invention and we are still far from realizing its full potential. The internet has already significantly changed lives; however this is most probably nothing like transfigurations which are yet to come.