Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Invention of the Internet

I just came across an interesting item on one of my favorite websites. The article is entitled, “Life Without the Web” If You Grow Up on the Internet, Are You Better Equipped To Use It Responsibly? By James Sturm

It’s not actually an article. Instead, it’s a series of cartoons people have drawn to illustrate their feelings about the internet. Since I can’t draw, I’ll have to use words instead, so here goes –

I belong to the majority of those who didn’t grow up with the internet, but am part of the mass of people who had computers for at least part of their childhood (high school for me). The internet didn’t really come in to use until I was in college, towards the end of my academia actually. By the time I graduated in 1994, I was occasionally looking things up on the web, but usually not for very long. After all, these were the days before Broadband. If you were on the internet, your phone line would be tied up. Since I lived at home for several years after graduation, I certainly didn’t want my parents to get angry because their line was busy while I was on the computer.

Having use of the internet was a God-send in the days before international phone calls came down in price, or at least before I could afford my own calling plan. My future husband and I would go into a private chat room and maybe talk for up to an hour at a time for nothing more than the cost of a local call (I think).

It was also nice to have the internet as an information source. I remember my best friend and I once looking up information on Toyota Rav4s, since she was dreaming about purchasing one.

The World Wide Web being an almost bottomless pit of information is definitely one of the main benefits I receive from it. At least once a week or more I will grab our Netbook to look up something as it spontaneously crosses my mind. This has made phone books pretty much redundant in our house, because most of the time I prefer to look up a phone number on the internet, rather than bend down and grab a phone book out of the cupboard. It would probably take the same amount of time, but nevertheless, that’s what I do!

The other thing I really like about the World Wide Web is the way it sort of brings us all together as global citizens who have more in common than one might think. I think photo sharing websites are particularly demonstrative of this since people from all over the world will post pictures of their kids, as well as the places they live and visit, as well as pictures of the food they eat, books they read, etc. I definitely enjoy contributing my own photos, as well as seeing what others post (on flickr particularly).

The World Wide Web would definitely be in my top three list of best inventions of the Twentieth Century.

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