I have been pondering this #Blogtober16 prompt for a few days. I feel like my answer should be my family, or love, or something equally twee. But, if I’m honest, my answer is terribly predictable: I can’t live without the internet. If the wifi goes down? Oh. My. God. No connection when out and about? Help!
We’ve always been a fairly tech-savvy family and had an internet connection fairly early on (remember good old dial-up?). So, although not a ‘digital native’ like my children are, I am very comfortable around tech and using the net. I even did a web-based foundation degree through Glyndwr University in Wales which allowed me to fit it in around my family.
To me, the internet is a lifeline. Literally. There have been dark times when I’ve needed to reach out for help and it has been there – on the internet. It’s how I best feel connected. Yes, it’s lovely to meet up with a friend for a meal and a chat, but for someone with social anxiety, the internet is a great way to connect to others without the pressures of a physical meeting. The internet has allowed friends and family across the world to stay in touch despite the miles. I have made countless friends over the internet and I do see these people as real friends, despite the fact I may not have met them in ‘real life’. Some of them know more about me than anyone!
I love internet shopping. I remember the days of ordering things from a catalogue, sometimes taking up to 28 days for delivery. 28 days!! Now I can jump on Amazon, order and have it delivered the same day if I’m lucky, or the next day if not. Don’t feel like dragging the kids round Sainsbury’s? No problem, I can do a shop on Ocado in ten minutes and have it delivered to my door. I don’t even have to get out of bed. And the internet is a fantastic place for small businesses and those who make their own products to showcase their wares and sell to a much broader audience.
I think it’s brilliant that I can look up anything I need to know and have an answer almost immediately – praise be to Google! Directions, opening times, addresses, film times, stock availability…. everything is so instant.
The internet has allowed me to work from home, and countless others do this day in, day out. Or night in, or whenever, because that’s the beauty of it. It offers so many people flexibility to work when they want to fit in better with family life and other commitments. It has opened up so many opportunities that simply weren’t available even two decades ago.
Of course, the internet has it’s darker side. It has definitely changed how we as a society view ourselves and others and there is a pressure now to keep up with what others are doing, wearing, buying. I’m glad I’m not a teen right now, as I worry about how social media has had such an effect on how they develop relationships with each other. We have become much less sociable in many ways; a quick look around a shopping centre this morning showed several people walking with their phones in their hands, head down. Everything is so instant these days and we are forgetting the art of patience.
But overall, where would we be without the internet? I think it has improved our lives, although I’m sure there are people who disagree.