1991. My birthday, and the year the internet was made accessible to the public. What a doozy! No, but for real, the internet has transformed human life in the most unimaginable ways. I can’t say from memory, because well, the internet has been around as long as I have. But I’ve heard stories! Like, remember those times when you had a question, and had to get the answer, you either a) phone a friend, b) drive down to the library to hunt through books for who-knows-how-long, or c) just… not know the answer.
Image Credit: The New Yorker
Think about this. Today, you can:
- Check the forecast at any given moment. Any time. Not just on the morning news or in the paper. In fact, you can check what the weather is like in Beijing, or New Scotia, or Paris. Is this not mind blowing?
- Choose from thousands (upon thousands) of movies. Netflix isn’t the only option. Thought Maybe has an incredible selection of documentaries, and Documentary Den is pretty great, also. Or, Vimeo always has short films by indie artists that are incredibly talented.
- Access an incredible wealth of knowledge. I.e. scholarly journals, online lectures, wikipedia, the amazing bloggers that pour their passion into their field of study, PBS Nova, and a million (That’s a guess, but I’m sure it’s close) lists that tell you about the best online educational resources.
- See the person you love when they are in another part of the world with a video chat. Before video chat, you could write or call, but let’s be honest: International phone calls are outrageous.
- Be a part of an cyberculture phenomenon. I mean, the Harlem Shake. This is a meme that began on February 2nd, and already has 70 references on Wikipedia. No, this is not the most brilliant video to ever be made, but that’s not the point. To me, the beauty of a viral meme is the collective input, variation, and consumption. I laughed at the same meme that people all over the world have laughed at, as well. And an incredible number of remakes have been made since the original. Now, most of the time, people are just doing a single-motioned silly dance with a costume on, so I don’t think they are all driven by the desire to be famous. I think they want to join in on the fun, and feel connected to the world. Maybe I’m an optimist.
Obviously, there is so much more that could be on this list. But, the internet is super huge. So, next time you think, “what has the internet done for me?”, remind yourself that the internet is a miracle. A MIRACLE.
Have a lovely day.