Here in the 21st century, the internet is woven into the fabric of our daily lives. For those of us who are old enough, it’s actually becoming increasingly impossible to remember life before the information superhighway! The advent of the World Wide Web has revolutionized the way in which we interact with the world around us, transcending geographical limitations and reshaping so many fundamental aspects of our very existence.
Nowadays, technology advances at breakneck speed. It seems we barely have a moment to breathe before a new innovation comes along and transforms everything from the ways we communicate to how we engage with content and entertainment.
With advanced technologies like AI and VR on the cusp of ushering in the era of eXtended Reality, there’s never been a better time to reflect on everything that the arrival of the internet has done for humankind. From gaming to productivity, here are three key areas of our day-to-day experiences that the internet has transformed.
As playing video games is now an activity that over 3 billion people in the world engage with, we had to start this retrospective with gaming. The global gaming industry is one of the most popular Big Tech industries in the world, and, in no small part, that’s thanks to the dawn of the internet. It’s shaken off its geek associations and is in demand with leading brands and hyper-cool markets. The gamification of fashion? That’s all thanks to the internet.
Of course, the true impact of connected tech on the industry can be seen in the sheer array of gaming genres and ways to play that are now in the hands of global gamers. The emergence of online gaming brought with it powerhouse genres like Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG) and much, much more.
Digital marketplaces like Steam now play a key role in making gaming accessible, while operators such as PokerStars Casino have even transposed traditionally brick-and-mortar games like blackjack and roulette into the digital realm via an extensive online casino platform, complete with all kinds of features and with the addition of new technologies like VR and AR. Then, of course, there’s the eSports sector, which has blossomed into an entertainment industry in its own right.
These days, we can reach out and connect with friends, loved ones, and acquaintances 24/7, 365 days a week, in the blink of an eye. Before the digital age, however, being social was a lot less convenient. Address books and paper diaries are almost obsolete now, but they were vital tools in helping us manage our social calendars before Y2K. Today, Gen Z are more likely to communicate in consonants and emojis via social media apps than they are to pick up a landline and make a phone call.
While the jury’s out on whether or not this increased access to communication tools via social media is a positive thing for humanity long-term, there’s no denying that it is just so much easier to reach the people we need to reach here in this hyper-connected era. As well as redefining how we connect with others by blurring geographical boundaries, social media platforms are an integral part of our lives and do play a role in sharing experiences and fostering communities.
Working and Productivity
According to a report by FlexJobs, there’s been a 159% increase in remote working over the past decade, with over 4.7 million people in the US alone working from home since the start of 2020. The internet has ushered in a new era of employment, which facilitates flexible, hybrid working practices and has radically reshaped the concept of the traditional office.
Video conferencing platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams are so commonplace that we can almost take for granted just how seamlessly we can connect with colleagues and stakeholders, even across continents. When you stop and think about it, it’s pretty astounding just how quickly remote work has been made not only feasible but also efficient.
The internet has also had a profound impact on our own personal productivity. Many of the digital tools used to enable remote and freelance working also have plenty of use cases for us as individuals. Cloud-based apps like Google provide a centralised hub for personal emails, calendars, and documents, while project management platforms like Trello and Asana are used in everything from creative marketing campaigns to organising stag dos.