The internet has always been a constant presence in my life, always improving and growing ever more popular among people within society. It is fair to say that, for the majority of people today, the internet has become one of the most important things within human life. Although groundbreaking even from its creation twenty-five years ago, it is still a very new thing and it is astounding how far the internet has come, and how much it has grown, affecting almost everyone. The internet is an amazing technological advancement for humans and will always continue to improve, but how far can the internet go, and at what point will it stop growing?
There is no better way to illustrate the importance of the internet to others than to use the recent twelve hour cut-out of BT internet throughout the UK. After experiencing the connection problems, the twitter page ‘@BTCare’ saw an incredulous amount of complaints about its lack of service to the nation, swarmed by a storm of tweets criticising the company. After resolving this problem, BT then issued multiple apologies both to the press and on twitter, apologising for the failure of their internet service. Providing for over seven million customers, it is clear that BT plays a very large role in the usage of the internet; and the sheer number of complaints of affected subscribers shows just how much we rely on the internet, and how lost people are without it.
It is no secret that we all need the internet as everybody uses it on a daily basis; so how long will it be before we use nothing but the internet as our way of living? Maybe not as long as we may think. Some might argue that we are already there now. Twenty-five years ago, humans used real life shops in real life towns in order to buy food, clothes and all other things that they needed. No-one would’ve believed that in a quarter of a century, you would be able to do all of these daily activities, sat in front of a screen without a care in the world. Huge online retailers such as Amazon and Apple have profited hugely through creating online stores which, more often than not, offer a cheaper and more convenient service than most shops. Sites such as these are slowly replacing that of real life stores such as HMV which is only just surviving as a result. So why stop now? Being so convenient and easy, having everything you need delivered straight to your door, why would we ever get bored of this? The thing is, we won’t and the idea of a world in which everything we need is found and purchased online is not so far fetched. Buying milk and bread or other daily groceries on the internet may well be a thing within the next few years.
Social networking is another aspect of online life which we have been introduced to. Facebook, perhaps the most popular of these now has well over five-hundred million users, with forty-four percent of internet users worldwide owning an account. The continual growth of Facebook is worrying as it has now become a major cause of social deprivation. Although there are so many benefits of social networks, such as staying in contact with past friends or meeting new people from miles away, it should not be replaced with real life conversing, and the usage of Facebook has in fact led to this, and less people are actually going out to have face-to-face conversations with people. Will it be long before people never go out, simply living their life controlled by a computer? Perhaps not. Applications such as Skype and Oovoo along with other instant messaging services have made this so easy for people and much like the growth of online shopping, there show no signs of social networking slowing down in the future; and a world in which communication rests only between screens is not so far from reality.
The internet is without a doubt growing, with over two billion users worldwide – a number which is, and will continue to increase every day. Humans have become so used to using it, that the idea of life without it has become very scary. Whether it be researching, shopping or socialising, the internet has a use for everyone and is inevitably going to carry on changing and become more popular. The fact is, the internet is just too easy to use and too useful so it will probably never stop growing. There is no set place in time when or even if the internet will stop, or when it will become too much for humans, but at its current rate, it will probably never stop and the idea of a life based completely around the internet and nothing else is not so far away; and being so convenient and easy, the internet will without a doubt continue to be used and appreciated by everyone for many decades to come.
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