Although it was in the late ‘90s when the internet became global common place, it took the following few years for the new technology to find its uses and really prove itself as a tool. The past decade has seen an explosion in the way we use the World Wide Web, and in celebration of Art Division’s 10th birthday we take a look at the ways in which the internet has changed the way we live.
Probably the most obvious and on-topic element that the internet has introduced: the social media boom. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Skype, emails or the hundreds of other messaging service we now have, our communication levels have never been so high. It is currently estimated that there are over 600million people on Facebook, 200million on Twitter, 100million on Linkedin and further to this, over 190billion minutes of Skype to Skype calls were made in 2010 – compared to the estimated 26.25billion letters that Royal Mail delivered in the same year. There’s no doubting that the internet has completely transformed the way in which we interact with others.
Shopping is one of the world’s oldest pastimes but its shift into the online forum has completely changed the market. In a seemingly smooth transaction, footfall is still down since the recession but online spending continues to do well as it begins to creep in as the preferred spending method. Applications for iPhones and further gadgets have made the weekly food shop as simple as making a list and clicking a button, let alone all the clothes shopping and gadget buying apps. The weekly car boot sale that many pre-teens spent countless weekends being dragged around are now simply held in one place: eBay. Thank you online auctioning.
It has never been easier to learn than it is in 2011 – if you’re good at fact checking that is! The internet is an almost limitless resource and Google is your library, stuffed to brim with its very own binary-ISBN index. Wikipedia alone holds 3.4million articles in English and, assuming you read at average pace, boffins around the world have estimated that it would take about 14 years and 8 months of uninterrupted reading to read it all – assuming no more were added in that time. And that’s just one site, think of all the blogs, journals and online tutorials on everything from how to apply your daily eyeliner to the inner workings of an elephant’s anatomy.
Gone are the rainy weekends when the Scrabble board was reluctantly pulled out of its dusty shell and resurrected for a thoroughly unhappy two hours. We now have not only endless games online but also movies, television on demand, Youtube, Spotify and anything else you can think of that helps to kill time. After social networking, gaming is the activity we spend the most time doing on the internet.
After global economy concerns over the past few years it’s no wonder that we’re all after a bargain, which is probably why some of the most visited websites in the world are bargain havens. Amazon, eBay, Netflix and Groupon are respectively the five biggest shopping destinations online and what they all have in common is the opportunity to find high street products at reduced prices.
The online dating industry was last year valued at around $4billion dollars worldwide – evidence alone that the formula is working. It is also estimated that 17% of marriages across the world in 2010 were a result of online dating (eHarmony claims that 236 of its members are married each day), and in the UK alone the volume of Google searches on mobile devices relating to online dating grew by 215% year-on-year. It’s fair to say the stigma of meeting your potential soul mate online has definitely begun to drop, so much so in fact that in 2010 the porn industry blamed its $74million decline on dating sites.
With the endless flow of information that the internet provides there is no longer an excuse for being late, being caught without an umbrella or even missing your flight. The World Wide Web has made planning impossibly easy, whether you’re checking in for your flight online, finding out if there are any parts of the motorway closed before you set out on a long journey or simply checking to see if you should wear a coat or a cardigan out for the day, the world is literally at your finger tips.
In spite of the years’ worth of videos available online, reading is still going strong. Broadsheets may be being replaced by iPads full of the latest news and Kindles with thousands of ready-to-read, never dog eared books, but we are still doing it. Our magazine subscriptions are beginning to stop coming through the letter box as they instead arrive in our inboxes with interactive galleries, comments from other users, manipulation features and extra add-ons.
The effect the internet has had on reporting over the last ten years appears to have happened transiently but subtly. We live in a world of demanding instant news, we’re connected like never before. Not only do we watch news online, read new online and relive news online but we also transport news online to distribute through other mediums and platforms. Our ability to be at the scene without having to go anywhere is beyond belief and the face of journalism has completely changed. Citizen journalism (blogs, tweeters, mobile footage) was an alien concept before the internet.
With all the above in mind, there are several ways in which the internet actually benefits our environment. The first of which is our spending habits; online banking, phone bills and shopping online all refrain from using paper and simply send confirmations via email. It is your choice as to whether you keep a paper record of these accounts, you can either print out what you see or request an official copy from the vendor, however, most are more than happy to view it all online. The second way the internet has the possibility to help reduce the impact we are having on our ecosystem is that where we shop online, we are reducing the amount we drive into town, thus carbon emissions are also reduced.Tags: Social Media Marketing