Shaping the Internet Age? The Internet shaped our age!
WTF. OMG. LOL. Jk!
Brb, ttyl. AFK. Ktnxbye!
If you do not understand any – even just one! – of the codes above, then you must be:
a) A fossilized dinosaur;
b) A mummy coming back to life;
c) An endangered species from the Cretaceous era who was frozen in a block of ice and the ice has just melted because of global warming;
d) A noob (You say what? You are one!)
The IM (Instant Messaging) language – the Internet language – is used by yuppies, college and high school students, teenagers, and children. (Do adults converse like this too?) It is an emerging culture, thanks to the high-rising attractiveness of the 160-character-limit tweeting, or the popularization of the Yahoo! Messenger and other avenues for chatting. This shortening of words has become necessary in order to cope with the fast exchange of conversation between two parties.
Thanks to the Internet, we can now have a better way of reaching a loved one from the other end of the world in a more efficient and faster way.
Decades ago, nobody would even deem this possible. Today, it’s a reality. The other side of the world used to be literally the other side of the world. Now it’s just one click away.
Much has changed in the world since the dawning of a new age – the Internet age. Generations have had the chance to embrace the development of one of the greatest inventions of humans. Ranging from the latest generation, Generation Z or iGen, up to Generation Y (our generation), Generation X (our parents’ age bracket), and probably even the Baby Boomers generation, people have had the opportunity to make their lives easier – and faster – because of the Internet.
The Internet is a global cultural phenomenon. Businesses, government, academic communities all rely on the Internet for information exchange, creating and maintaining relationships, ticking off updates about the economy, and a lot more. Entertainment is also one of the biggest facets that the Internet offers its users. The Internet is borderless – anyone can access it and anyone can use its offered services. It knows no age limit, no boundaries, and no impediments. Tall, short, fair, dark, young, old, degree holder, or toddler, anyone – ANYONE – can become “one with the Internet”.
Almost every kid who is privileged enough to have a personal computer and internet access at his or her own home now knows how to get his or her way around the Internet. They have hundreds of friends on Facebook, they tweet every ten minutes at Twitter, they post and reblog funny and captivating images and messages at Tumblr, and they browse and upload videos on YouTube. They know the Internet and the Internet knows them. That’s probably why the latest generation, following after Gen X and Gen Y, is called iGen or the Internet GENeration. (I’ve read this from an article on Yahoo! News.)
I am a product of the internet. (Not that I’m virtual or a hologram or anything.)
The Internet is an extension of my life. I have a personal life, a social life, an “academic” life, and an internet life. (Hello, Facebook. Hey, Twitter. What’s up, YM?)
College life is made so much easier because of the broad range of reference materials online. My relationship with my favorite cousin in the US is bridged and we’re able to talk with each other often as if nothing has changed. Long lost friendships made in grade school are recovered through social networking sites. Cramming for a group project is made simpler and better by Yahoo! Messenger.
It’s as if you enter a whole new world when you’re browsing the Internet – a world of new possibilities and promises.
The Internet is such a powerful thing, see? It makes the world smaller and the other side of the world isn’t as far away as it used to be. The ability to communicate and exchange information is so easy that just by one click of a button, the whole world is at the palm of one’s hands already. The Internet also brings people closer together. One of my college best friends used to be just a cyber-friend. The Multiply blogging site used to be so popular during my first year as a college student, and I “met” this friend online. We started to post comments on each other’s blogs and talk about the friends that we have in common through Y!M. Fast forward to today, we are the best of friends. (Thanks, Internet!) Also, tons of people from long distances create a world of their own founded on shared interests and beliefs. Considering the multitude of fan sites springing up on your screen when searching for a movie or a novel you like. Strangers become friends, and the cyber world is the place for them to meet.
No More Loners
People tend to get absorbed with this new world that the Internet offers them.
A case in point: Me. I’m sandwiched between two brothers ergo I do not have a real “buddy-buddy” at home. Thank goodness for the internet!!! When I’m at home, I always have my laptop on and I sit in front of the TV. I browse the internet and I watch my favorite show on TV. I open my email and the social networking sites I’m registered in; I chat with my cousin who lives in the US; I play Mafia Wars on Facebook; I download the latest Glee, Heroes, Grey’s Anatomy, and Gossip Girl episodes, and movies; and I watch TV. (To help me sleep at night, I tell myself that I was able to insert a little bit of homework time in the in-betweens.) Ever since the Facebook fever kicked in, this tradition does not break nor bend. I found a replacement for the sister I never had, Gossip Girl. LOL.
I remember when the times were simpler. I was in grade school and that afternoon after I just got home and changed my clothes, I would call a friend to bring her the good news that the first Harry Potter movie was on TV. We would talk for hours, mimicking the lines and expressions of the characters of Harry, Ron, and Hermione, as we ignore our homework.
But now, the times are different. Do you see the tiny, little reminder on your Facebook Home page at the upper right corner? Facebook reminds us to “catch up” with friends by clicking on their pictures and writing on their walls. Now, we just write on walls, poke, tag in posts, and comment on their emotional statuses or “like” the videos they post in order to keep friendships alive. We do not even need to see each other anymore. Because of Facebook, or Twitter, or Tumblr, face-to-face interaction is not necessary in maintaining healthy relationships. Because of the Internet, it has become optional. It has also become an inconvenience in comparison to just pressing buttons on your keyboard.
The Internet has taken over the world of personal relationships and has replaced them with cyber ones.
Bill Gates had probably foreseen that ten years after he wrote the article “Shaping the Internet Age”, people would have developed a need for the internet.
The goodness of the Internet
But let me not bash the underlying effects of being addicted to the internet. The Internet has proven to be quite efficient in improving the lives of the people. We have seen its potential in changing the way people live and work.
“The Internet gives people the opportunity to put their knowledge to work and take advantage of greater opportunities to lead productive and fulfilling lives. It is the gateway to vast amounts of knowledge, art and culture. It provides equal access to information and communications, allowing the formation of rich communities and forging real connections between people. It breaks down barriers between (and within) nations, opening up economies and democratizing societies. And as cheap computing power becomes more pervasive, the Internet can bring all these benefits to more and more people around the world.”
-Bill Gates, Shaping the Internet Age
Let me quote Bill Gates again in saying that “We’ve seen a lot of amazing things so far (with the benefits and advantages of the Internet), but there is much more to come. We are only at the dawn of the Internet Age.” We are already farther off into the future at this point in time. What else is in store for us in the coming days, months, years, centuries? What will the great grandchildren of our grandchildren have in store for them? It is only the beginning, and there is so much more our “advanced” minds cannot fathom now. There will be much, much more in the future, and a whole new “technological world” is yet to be discovered. I’m scared and excited at the same time. The dawning of a new era of the Internet Age is about to come and human life is (should humans be able to prove that they are not a danger to themselves, ha-ha) in for a treat – wider academic research, medical advances, greater innovations, and so much more. The newer (if that’s even appropriate to say) age is coming.
I hope I will live through to witness it coming to life (err, figuratively, not literally please 🙂 ).