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How The Internet Shapes Society
“When I took office, only high energy physicists had ever heard of what is called the Worldwide Web.... Now even my cat has its own page.” Former President Bill Clinton said this during a speech in 1996. The internet has become an everyday tool used by billions of people all over the world. In this world nearly everything can be done online. You can check your bank statements and pay your bills one second, and play games with people on the other side of the world the next. The internet has grown so large that phrases like “Google it” or “Facebook me” are used in everyday conversation. Everywhere you look you can see promotions to look at a business’s website. The internet is always changing our lives, and it won’t stop soon.
The internet has impacted the social interactions in today’s society in a large way. According to Social Effects of Internet Communication (helium.com) “On the one hand, since the primary use of the Internet is communication, some people might speculate that the Internet will have positive social consequences in people's everyday lives because it increases the frequency and quality of interpersonal communications among people.” Email has become a faster, more common way to give people information when you can’t actually speak with them. You can send business reports, essays for school, and even just a friendly hello just by pressing a few buttons. Setting up an email account today is much easier than waiting in line at the post office.
The social abilities of the internet don’t stop with an email. There are many social networks online that allow you to see what your friends are doing and make plans with them. Popular websites like “Facebook”, “Twitter”, and “Google+” allow you to tell your friends what you’re doing, with whom, when, and where. In the article Do social networking sites improve your ability to network in real life? (howstuffworks.com), it was said that “Optimists say that social networking via the Internet helps us to strengthen existing ties and forge new ones, leading to an improved social condition.” These days it’s nearly impossible to find someone who doesn’t have an account on at least one social network.
Thanks to the internet, anyone with a camera can become very well known. Nearly everyone has seen a funny video on YouTube. It’s a great way to share cool or funny moments with a friend, or even to become an overnight superstar. The three most subscribed channels on YouTube (RayWilliamJohnson, nigahiga, and Smosh) are just a couple of people who are funny, and have a camera. They each have about 5 million people who get notified every time they post a video, they do this professionally with large companies sponsoring them. A large number of jobs have been made in this poor economy, all thanks to the internet.
The internet isn’t only making people famous for having artistic talents, it’s also making room for people with exciting new ideas that change the way people live. Mark Zuckerberg, the inventor of Facebook, was just a college student who created a social networking site and went on to be the youngest billionaire at age 24 in 2008. He has said “The internet is the most powerful tool we have for creating a more open and connected world.” on his own Facebook page. Another person whose smarts have made him famous online is Markus Persson (more commonly known as Notch). He is an indie game developer who created the company Mojang and the very popular game Minecraft. So far around 20,500,000 people have registered to play and 4,700,800 people bought the game. He was able to do this without any official advertisements. The game spread completely through people telling their friends about it. By April 2011, only 2 years after creating Minecraft, Notch had made $33 million. If it weren’t for the internet his ideas would have never been shared with the world.
The internet isn’t only just a way to get famous, but it is an easy and effective way to get caught up with the news. There are many different sources to get the same story online, and each one can be targeted towards different people. Those who like funny comments mixed in with the day’s news can watch a large number of people on YouTube. If you’re someone who wants serious news sources you can check sites for major news networks such as CNN.com, Fox.com, and Msnbc.com. The best part of news online is that news reports can be put up as soon as the reporter finishes typing. In the past people would have to wait at least one day to see something in the newspaper. Even today we have to wait hours to hear about certain parts of the news. With the internet all you need to do is type in what you want to know about into a search engine and you instantly have a large number of articles at your fingertips.
The internet has also revolutionized the film and television industries. In “How Internet Access Has Affected Society and Businesses” (ezinearticles.com), Hannah Miller said “Recently Internet access has provided many new marketing tactics that would have seemed impossible even a few years ago.” Advertisements for new shows and movies can be seen on the sides and tops of many websites in small banners. This is a great way for people to advertise because people will often visit certain websites on a weekly, sometimes even daily, basis. When you advertise on sites this popular people will notice and be encouraged to watch something new. The more popular channels on YouTube almost always have a short 15 second commercial before their videos. These commercials are another great way to get news of a new show or movie. Apart from advertising this content, services like Netflix allow people to watch shows and movies at almost any time. Netflix will actually suggest new things for their users to watch. This gets the word out even better for whoever made the content. This also expands people’s tastes in entertainment and makes a huge impact on society.
The internet also helps boost the music industry. Websites like Pandora and YouTube allow people to listen to music they know and like. They can later branch off into different songs suggested by their friends, and even suggested by the website itself based on what you’ve been listening to. Just like Netflix does with movies, Pandora allows its users to widen their taste for music. It allows you to listen to any genre of music you could imagine.
Currently the most viewed video on YouTube is Justin Bieber’s song “Baby”. If it weren’t for the internet, his songs wouldn’t be playing all over the world. The influence that the internet has on our society is immense. Before the internet, you would have to pay lots of money to get a song recorded, and spend weeks, even months, hoping that it could get on the radio. It was a risky investment. Now a teenager was able to become a star just by posting some videos of him singing online. The internet has made it much easier to be noticed in society.
When people go online, it isn’t always just for the fun social part of the internet. People can improve their knowledge. Doing things like going on agoogleaday.com, or playing games like words with friends. These can increase your general knowledge and vocabulary and make you a more intelligent person. There is a large amount of websites to test your intelligence on the internet. Even the genius organization Mensa has a website. The internet is a great way to increase your knowledge of the world.
The internet has also served a large role in Politics. Whether it is the topic of debate, or a way to spread ideas, the internet is very involved with politics. President Barack Obama ran part of his election through YouTube, and gained a lot of popularity this way. As stated by informationweek.com “YouTube users alone spent 14.5 million hours watching official Barack Obama campaign videos -- and that isn't even including user-generated videos.” This shows more than anything that the internet is a very powerful tool. It was able to spread the word of Obama’s ideas across America much faster than any other form of campaigning. Latimes.com reported that though the internet, Google was able to bring in over 4.5million signatures on a petition against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). This act would severely limit the internet’s freedom. Many other websites “went dark” for a day to protest this bill. These sites include Wikipedia, Reddit, Mojang, and many more. These protests show how much people care about the internet’s future and how it makes a large impact on our lives.
The internet has made an enormous impact on modern day society. It’s affected nearly everything in the world in some way. Now that we have it as a luxury, not many people could live without it. There is no bigger source of inspiration for what one invention can do. Though it has already done so much, it is nowhere near its limit.