The Internet has been around for decades, but it did not arrive in the mainstream until the mid-1990s and was at first a novelty. Hard to believe now at that time there were those that did not believe much would come of this new innovation, thinking the Internet would not have much of an overall impact on society and was just a passing fad.
Boy were they wrong.
Perhaps their perspective is not so off the wall. After all, at that time, the whole concept was unexplored territory for the most part, and a large vision to fathom. Even those pioneers who envisioned a globally-connected society probably did not realize the extent of the outstanding impact the Internet would have and how it would eventually transform the world as it was known at that particular time.
But times sure have changed! Today many people would likely have a hard time functioning if their Internet connection suddenly ceased to exist. Being able to connect has become associated with daily living and for those who rely on it, either for personal or business, cannot imagine going even a day without being connected to the virtual world. (After all, you just have to consider in 2014 mobile users spent, on average, 2 hours and 57 minutes a day looking at their screens). 1
When a connection is lost, can you still function? Or do you find yourself "lost" without being able to go online?
The Internet has essentially changed the dynamics on many different aspects of society. Today technology developers actively strive to bring offline experiences to the online environment and, as a result, has continued to revolutionize the world as we know it.
The Internet has had a profound impact on how people communicate in terms of speed, quantity, quality and method. People can now communicate to others across the globe in many forms including emails, instant messages, social networks, video recordings and more. Increasingly in the business environment, phone calls and in-person meetings have been replaced by the cost-efficient web-based forms of communication.
In this respect, the Internet has created a vast ability of information sharing. In a matter of minutes, or even seconds, people can send out all forms of information to share either with specific people or across the world. Modern society now has access to global news, massive educational resources and pretty much any other kind of information needed or desired. Pre-Internet, access to information would have been a fraction of the level available today. However, while seamless sharing does have its benefits, there are also drawbacks, such as privacy erosion and also the risk of data breaches.
No truer words have been spoken. Despite privacy controls, breaches, glitches or other things can go wrong and expose personally identifiable information (PII).
Effect on Relationships
There have been both positive and negative effects of the Internet on relationships. In one respect, people can meet other individuals they never would have gotten the opportunity to meet. Many people have formed solid relationship bonds through connecting on the Internet including dating, marriages and long-term friendships.
On the other hand, the Internet has also caused distance in some respects. People now frequently interact electronically which can place a damper on those relationships. Kids and parents are each engrossed in their own online activities, one partner may ignore the other in favor of hanging out on Facebook and, when looking at it from this angle, the online environment could theoretically have a high potential to damage a person's (or family's) quality of life.
Transformation in Business
In the business environment, the Internet has totally transformed and revolutionized opportunity. Businesses that were limited before can now easily operate globally and increase their customer bases. Communicating and responding to customer needs is far more expedient, and the Internet has provided strategic abilities previously impossible to achieve.
Ecommerce, and increasingly mobile commerce, benefits both the customer and the business, providing each with tangible benefits. Customers can now comparison shop through using their Internet, book travel plans, and have a plethora of other commerce needs met, saving both time and money.
Unfortunately with the positives comes some negatives and the Internet definitely has its dark side. Criminal elements have always existed in society, however with new tools and capabilities, come new crimes and or exploit the Internet to commit familiar crimes. Today society has to contend with increased levels of financial and identity theft, cyber stalking, phishing, website defacement, viruses and malware that destroy both physical and intellectual property, to name a few.
[Related reading: Things You Didn't Know Could Be Hacked ]
Changes in Language
Who would have thought 15 years ago that phrases such as "Google it", "hop online", "check email", "surf the web" and "Facebook me" would have become everyday phrases. Other new words that describe online activities such as blogs, ecommerce, m-commerce, social networking (at one time this may have meant something totally different), chat rooms and "tweets" would be daily activities. As a result of the Internet, entire chat lingo and abbreviated language forms and acronyms have been created with new ones emerging all the time.
[ Related reading: Things Your Should Never Reveal on Facebook ]
The creation of the Internet has dramatically impacted society and, as every day passes, newer innovations are created. Currently, wearable technology and "smart" devices are becoming more common in daily life, making people even more "connected". Additionally, in the future, augmented reality will continue to blur the line between the off and online worlds.
What the future brings where an interconnected society is concerned has yet to be written, however one thing is for certain, the Internet has had a tremendous impact when it comes to the history of the world and how its progression will be documented. With digital footprints being left everywhere and the ability to track getting more solidified all the time, documentation probably won't be too hard to follow.
Unless, of course, everything crashes.