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How the Internet is Changing Our Lives

Old School Mail by Oran Viriyincy
Try this thought experiment: think about the time before there was the Internet. If you remember far enough back and if you're as old as I am (I'm turning 28 soon) then you will remember a time when there wasn't really an easy way to connect with friends and family if you were far away from each other. Actually, it's also really hard to connect with friends and family even if you were in the same house -- whether it was back then or now. The biggest difference between before the Internet and now that the Internet is "mainstream" is that now the Internet gives you little to no excuse to not connect with friends and family. And when I say friends and family, I mean every member of your family and every friend you have.

I remember back before I was in college, my grandparents immigrated to the US. My mother's parents became US immigrants and I never really got to bond much with them while I was growing up with my father's side of the family. But surprisingly enough when I got into college and learned about the Internet and what the possibilities are of communicating with them via email (that was the most primitive and cheap way of communicating back then), I was excited about how the Internet will change the way people connected with each other. Little did I know that a decade from that time I became a Computer Science student in the University of the Philippines at Los BaƱos I would be working in one of the foremost technology companies that have changed the way the Internet affects our lives on a daily basis.

Texting by Randy Partiet
Now though communication has evolved from the analog of writing letters into many different modes. We have the concept now of an activity stream thanks to social networking sites where we can passively get updated with what's happening with people that we're connected to. There's also broadcast which allows us to write what we think somewhere and have people be able to get to that content in many different ways. Now sharing is just another way of communication in between the passive and the active mode of communication. There's literally dozens if not hundreds of different ways to reach the people you care about and want to know about.

Things that I now take for granted like taking photos with my phone and having it show up in an album on the Internet. Who would have thought about doing that with printed photos right -- make it available to everyone in the world or even just letting all your family members have a copy of every photo that you've ever taken. And talk about the amount of photos you can take and store compared to the time when you had to conserve your film because it was expensive to even take photos let alone have them printed and mailed.

Oh and video. Now I take videos whenever I felt like it. I remember the time my dad bought a camcorder -- which is one of the most expensive gadgets that he's bought aside from the computers that I had access to when I was little -- and how my sister and I were not allowed to operate it or take videos because, well, we had to buy the film and that we had to be careful operating the (expensive) camera. Now every mobile device (not just phones) have an HD camera built-in (some have two). And now you don't have trouble sharing videos because you can just put them all on the Internet and share it with all your family members.

Serious Videography by Dplanet::
The Internet has changed the conversation too. It used to be that someone you might not have talked to in high school you had very much little to no chance of getting to know and bond with for a good chunk of your life. Now it's just a matter of connecting through social networking sites, looking at what they're sharing, and maybe having a conversation about something that you two would be interested in. Back in high school I wouldn't have thought that people all over the world can get together and collaborate to do something world-changing and revolutionary in a literal sense. I wouldn't have thought that people would gather around a cause on a global network and make something that changes the world -- like Linux.

Overall if you try hard enough you'd see that just ten years ago the Internet was not as much of a big deal as it is today -- and never has the Internet been more important than it has been demonstrated now. This stuff is world-changing. If you try hard enough you just might see how different the world is now that this Internet is becoming the new way by means people get connected with each other.

To illustrate how the Internet has been changing and will continue to change our lives, give this video a shot and let me know what you think.



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