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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1719838-Life-Before-the-Internet-Versus-After
Rated: E · Essay · Other · #1719838
An essay I wrote for my Composition I class.
Dr. Rose, this is Christopher Camacho. I sent you a message on Blackboard regarding the SafeAssign score and this link. "C. Carlos Camacho" is my pen-name.

Modern Society 2.0


         The Internet, once a government research project, has grown from a few interconnected computers into a global phenomenon that has forever changed the way our society does things. Until the mid-to-late 90s, when the Internet’s popularity exploded, we relied on more traditional ways of getting things done. Now, we turn to the Internet first to accomplish those same things, albeit in a more modern manner. While some things have fallen to the wayside, others have adapted to this new reality.

         An obvious example of how things have changed is the way people communicate. Twenty years ago, writing letters to distant friends and family was the norm; we would sit down with a pad of paper and a pen and write down something we wanted to say to them. This might have taken as little as five minutes, or it may have taken an hour or longer; then, we’d stuff the letter into an envelope, affix a stamp, and drop it into a mailbox. Delivery took several days. Today, we’re more inclined to sit at a computer and type out an e-mail then click the “send” button, and it will reach its destination instantly. One thing that hasn’t changed about letter writing, however, is that we still take the time to convey our thoughts in e-mail just as we did in a traditional letter. As before, this might take only five minutes, or it may take an hour or more.

         Conversations have also seen a change as technology progressed; rather than a mere paradigm shift as with e-mail versus letters, this difference may be viewed as more of an “upgrade.” Previously, the only way to have a live conversation with someone in a different location was to place calls over the telephone. If we wanted to talk to Grandma on Christmas Day, our only choice was to pick up the phone and call her. That actually hasn’t changed very much because the telephone has evolved alongside the Internet; but, we now have more options available to us. In addition to having a phone conversation with someone, we can now use various instant messengers on the computer to chat, or even take advantage of the text messaging function on the phones themselves. With the development of Skype and the iPhone 4’s “FaceTime” feature, we can even place video calls as foretold in classic TV shows such as The Jetsons.

         Before the Internet became established in every home, newspapers and the evening news at 6:00pm were our primary means of learning about the day’s events. We’d read the newspaper in the morning and watch the news in the evening; information could be several hours old by the time it reached us. Over the past two decades, the dominance of newspapers and evening news broadcasts has waned; today, we are more likely to get our news any time during the day from 24/7 news channels and various websites such as FoxNews.com and CNN.com. This shift has resulted in real-time dissemination of information; today, we know more about what’s happening in the world than we did in the past.

         Students today hold an enormous advantage over the students of yesteryear. Previously, if we needed to do research for an assignment, we would need to go to the library, dig through reference books, magazines, newspapers, microfiche, and other printed materials, then make copies or printouts (which often cost $0.10 per copy). Researching something back then took serious effort and dedication if we wanted to earn a good grade on the assignment. Now, all we have to do is type in a few words or phrases on Google.com or Wikipedia.com, and then we suddenly have more information at our fingertips than we did in the past. One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is the task of picking out relevant information from the static; but, due to the greater amount of information available today, that skill may be more important than ever.

         Those of us who remember the way things used to be may experience nostalgia, and may even be inclined to start telling clich├ęd “when I was your age” stories to the younger generation. Some people, who are more traditional and averse to the different way things are now done, may be resistant or even hostile to the changes that have occurred over the past couple of decades. What they fail to realize, and what the rest of us need to recognize, is that progress slows for no one. Our society has experienced a fundamental shift due to the Internet’s influence; this is neither a bad nor a good thing… it just is.
© Copyright 2010 C. Carlos Camacho (topherbsd at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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