Personally, my life has changed dramatically. My wife, a
schoolteacher, realizes the Internet has already changed her life a
great deal. It created change at an amazing rate of speed.
In fact many people are at the point where they do not realize the
rate of change. It has managed to engulf many. It was a just a few years
ago that e-mail was commonly called "electronic mail." Recently, I
asked a few non-techies if they knew exactly what the word e-mail stood
for. Many knew what it was and that they used it. All said it was
Internet mail. Half did not know the "e" in e-mail stood for electronic.
When I asked them what snail-mail meant, they all knew or quickly
guessed it referred to the U.S. Postal Service.
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When I asked which came first the Web or the Internet? It was
confusing. Most did not realize there was a difference. Here's a quick
synopsis of the Internet time line. First there was e-mail via bulletin
boards. Next bulletin boards began connecting to the information
superhighway. When's the last time you heard that term? Feels like a long
time, but it really wasn't that long ago. Next universities started
writing programs that expanded the use of the Internet to include such
applications and programs like the World Wide Web. Everyone I asked
seemed to know that WWW means World Wide Web. None of the non-techies
knew that URL meant Universal Resource Locator. Yet a couple of them
quickly knew what it was and could pronounce it by its proper slang
term, "earl," then stated that was its meaning. You too have probably
heard this term in the past: "What's the url?" instead of "What's the
Speaking of addresses. I have actually overheard coffee shop
conversations in which two people are talking and one asks the other
their address. The response is now usually something starting with a WWW
instead of a real street address. The confusion can only be eliminated
by rephrasing the question. Like, "Where is the office?" Or, "Where do
you live?" Clearer references to physical locations that prevent a
confusing reference with virtual locations. The Internet is changing
more than just the way we send mail without postage stamps or the
increasing way we do business electronically. The Internet is now
changing the way we communicate with each other verbally. Just as
Americans have messed up the English language, the British will now have
the Internet to blame for messing up the English language at another
level. Oops, that's incorrect. The Internet was actually created here in
America. So it's our fault again for messing up the English language.
What else is new? But maybe it'll distract a few Brits, since many in
the U.S. still don't know the Internet was made in America.
I now need a bigger house. I wouldn't have this need if the Internet
did not exist. Not long ago telecommuting was a simple concept. Today,
it's a reality because of the Internet. Now that I telecommute, where do
I keep my paperwork? Where's the room for my computer? Where's the space
for my copy machine, business phone line, business fax machine, etc.?
This is the situation many find themselves in once they make the leap.
The Internet has already affected my entire neighborhood. Many people
have expanded their homes by adding second stories. The older folks in
the neighborhood quickly identified this trend to expand. They didn't
like the bigger houses next to theirs. Older neighbors have said things
to my wife and younger neighbors like, "We've raised three kids in our
house and it's the same size as yours -- you can do it too?"
Unfortunately, that's not a look at today's picture. Such a comparison
to yesterday no longer applies. Today is a new day. Society today is
more demanding of time. Offices in a home are becoming a growing
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The Internet can and is improving the quality of life. It even
possesses the power to improve (or prevent further the decay of) the air
we breathe. For example: If on a daily basis, you leave work early to
come home at say 2:30 p.m -- about the time the kids return from school
-- all of the following could take place: You eliminate your need for a
nanny or sitter. You drove your car at a speed which lessened the amount
of air pollution your car would have generated stuck in traffic at 5
p.m. You spent less time frustrated in traffic, listening to traffic
reports about why you are sitting in traffic. You can now put in a few
flexible hours of work telecommuting. Instead of having the report on
your boss' desk in the morning, it's in his e-mail inbox along with
copies to your coworkers -- all delivered by midnight when you click on
"send." You just saved time, air, cost of paper, trees (since many
won't print it out) and cut down on daycare costs. Let's not forget you
had more face time with your kids, which could have an effect of
producing a more civil civilization. However, the one thing you did need
to spend money on was that extra space for the telecommuting office.
Your big Uncle Sam collection agency, IRS, actually helps pay for that
extra space. Some of the most productive people I know now work full
time at home.
In many ways the Internet continues to engulf or affect one's life
without their knowledge. There is a connectivity assimilation taking
place. I would like to hear from you of examples on how the Internet
has changed your life. I think it may be interesting to print some of
the examples here. We may all find this enlightening. Even if you don't
feel like sending it in, I'm sure most of you will find it interesting
to take a moment to think about how the Internet has affected your life.
Looking forward to hearing your story. Please keep it short, true
and to the point and send it to [email protected].