These days, it’s hard for many of us to survive a day without the Internet. We wake up with a suddenly empty mind, and instinctively, we reach out for our smartphones to check our email or our latest Facebook notification. We have the “need” to be constantly connected and to fill up our minds with something we can read or watch from the Internet. A place with no Internet access would be a place where we can’t stay for long.
If you are born during the late 80s or later, you probably might have wondered how our folks made it through life without the convenience of the Internet. Here are some of the things we are able to do today that we couldn’t do before the Internet came.
1. Chat with people without talking and being able to receive a response from far away in just seconds.
Without the Internet, you can’t ask a lover from across the state, “What are you doing right now?” because you would probably only receive “I’m writing a letter to tell you I miss you,” which you will be able to receive after days – so, when you finally read it, he/she is not writing a letter to you any longer. Because of the Internet, we are now able to talk to someone away from us by chatting, calling or video calling just like you are together, for free.
2. Shop without leaving the house.
Need a pair of trekking shoes tomorrow? No problem, you can shop online at Amazon and have it delivered to your doorstep in just a short while. Craving for some restaurant food but you too lazy to go out? Just go to GrubHub and order even from two different restaurants. Have no idea how much a new dresser would cost? No need to go to the furniture shop, just check it out online at Ikea’s website. Before, people had to do the legwork to buy the things they wanted.
3. Search and view tons of pages of information in just seconds.
Gone are the days when students check the encyclopedias in libraries to finish their assignments. They don’t need to search the books they need and browse them just to answer “What nationalities occupied the USA during the Colonial period and what are the major influences each of them brought to American culture?” Now, we can just Google it, and we will gain tons of relevant pages wherein we can get the answers in less than a second.
4. Watch movies, read literature, and listen to music you do not own.
During the pre-Internet era, you have to buy or borrow a film, a CD or a music tape so that you can listen to music and watch movies. Nowadays, playing a CD so that you can listen to one Gwen Stefani song might be some sort of a joke because you can just go to Youtube or Spotify to listen to it. Before, if you want to read JD Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, you need to buy the book or borrow from a friend. But now, you can download it from the Internet whether in e-book or PDF form.
5. Follow or report news updates as they happen.
Did a fire break out from a huge factory in your county? You can be updated on the happenings through Twitter or you can report it as it happens by tweeting it yourself. Before the age of the World Wide Web, you might only know what happened and who were affected in the morning paper after the fire was already quenched, properties were already damaged and lives were already lost or affected.
6. Find out the latest happenings in other people’s lives without talking to them.
High school batch mates, old friends, ex-boyfriends – these are some people you are not interested in catching up with, but you know who is pregnant, who went on a Mediterranean cruise, and who is going out with who. It’s all because of Facebook, and of course, the Internet. Probably you would discover more minuscule details if you follow them on Twitter, but we know you won’t mind.
7. Write something for public viewing without having to contact a publisher or print copies to give away.
Anyone can influence someone even without having to talk to them because of the Internet. You can put up a blog and make a review about anything, and people’s attitude towards something might be affected because of your views and experience. Without the World Wide Web, you need to spend some money just to get your writings to be read by people.
8. Translate text in seconds without the need of a foreign dictionary.
Clueless about what that chunk of words means? You don’t need to check out an English-to-whatever-language dictionary if you can just copy-paste it to Google Translate. You might not get a perfect translation, but at least you have a clue.
9. Start a business even if you have no capital for office space building.
As long as you have the capital for your product or manpower (if you need any), you can start your own web-based business. Without the Internet, you need to be working side-to-side with your employees to be able to communicate with them and monitor their performance. Now, through chat or screenshot technology, you can have someone to work for you and be able to communicate and keep track of their productivity.
10. Entertain yourself freely.
If you want to be entertained, you either need to be with other people or spend some money for recreation during the pre-WWW era. Nowadays, you can just go to 9GAG or BuzzFeed if you want some comedy. You can download tons of free games for PC or mobile use for some virtual action or adventure. You can watch movies or series online. The Internet doesn’t want anybody to be bored, actually.