To say that the Internet has revolutionized our society would be the greatest understatement of all time. The Internet has monopolized our modern way of life and the “wired” generation has never known life without it.
This list counts off (in no particular order) the 10 greatest things the Internet ever gave us.
1. Social Media
Who would have thought the idea of keeping Harvard students connected would transform into a $1.1 billion business with more than 500 million users?
With the proliferation of blogs, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube, LinkedIn and other websites, social media accounts for 11 percent of time spent online in the U.S. and has revolutionized the way people communicate. Although some will argue that social media has given the wired generation an exaggerated sense of self importance, it’s hard to argue against the benefits of connecting with people, expressing yourself and keeping up with the Joneses.
Say what you want about porn, it’s not going away any time soon. As old as civilization and recently bailed out by the government, porn is an annual $12.6 billion industry in the U.S.
With man’s never-ending desire to copulate and its accessibility from any computer anywhere in the world, the Internet and porn were made for each other.
See how it all started in the movie “Middle Men” out in theaters now.
3. Online degrees
Today, there’s no need to even set foot on a college campus — but that wouldn’t be any fun, now would it? — to obtain a college degree. With more universities offering degrees online, and whole universities such as the University of Phoenix, people who would never have the opportunity to go to college can become educated and pursue a better life.
4. Music through mp3s
How we listen to, acquire and share music dramatically changed with mp3 files and the advent of and p2p services like Napster in 1999.
Radio websites like Pandora and programs such as iTunes got more people listening to more music now than any other time in history.
Can’t remember the name of that actor in the movie you just saw, or the book you need for class or just about anything you ever wanted to know? Search engines such as Google and Yahoo! and online encyclopedias such as Wikipedia — and every wiki spin off — made searching for anything and everything much easier.
Similar to searching, the Internet definitely made researching that term paper or science project much easier without ever having to step foot in a library and open a book. Unfortunately it also made a lot of people lazier because plagiarizing material became as easy as control copy and control paste.
Back in the days before the Internet, if you really liked something from a 8-bit Nintendo game to a VHS tape to a canned pumpkin, chances are you had to pull out the Yellow Pages or the classifieds page of the newspaper, find a store and call to see if it had the item in stock. Then you had to drive there and pay in cash.
The Internet made shopping so much easier in that you could find whatever you were looking for and have it delivered to your doorstep without ever leaving your chair.
8. Online Banking
Before the Internet, balancing your checkbook was an endless hassle of checks, envelopes, postage and letters. And late charges. And then no electricity. And then bad credit.
The Internet made the entire process of paying bills from your mortgage to electricity to car insurance as easy as a couple of clicks and an e-mail notification.
With more secure methods of payment delivery such as PayPal, you can pay your bills instantly and even send money directly to people’s accounts and not have to worry about losing a check in the mail.
It’s hard to believe that in a not-so distant past, you actually had to talk to someone prior to withdrawing money from your bank account.
Today, you can work from the privacy of your own home using programs such as Skype and GoToMeeting to save tons of money in gasoline and wear and tear on your car. Not only do you save money, you save time and emotional wear and tear by not having to commute. With the exception of walking over to your boss’s or coworker’s office, there is nothing you can do at work that you cannot do at home through telecommuting.
Last, the Internet gave all of the unemployed journalists out there an opportunity to make some money. With numerous websites that publish freelance material, and the opportunity to make money off of it, all is not lost for journalists as newspapers and magazines face difficult times in an industry moving online.
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