I spoke recently to a group where I tried to impress on them the importance and impact of the Internet. Among other things, I pointed out all the things in our lives that the Internet has replaced. It made me realize how I rely on the Internet daily. Here are seven things that I use the Internet for that I used to do other ways.
- Mail – This is probably one of the biggest changes in the last 10 years. Everyone uses email (Okay. Almost everyone.) I know I send and receive many more things by email than I do ground mail. I hardly ever send anything by regular mail. The only things I still get by mail are bills, wedding invitations, thank you notes, junk mail and packages I order on the Internet. For me, email has just about replace personal ground mail.
- Newspapers – I read all my news online. There has been a lot of discussion lately about the demise of the newspaper business. I continue to read my local paper’s web site, so local news reporting matters for me, but the Internet has replace my printed newspaper.
- Phonebooks – About twice a year, someone delivers phone books to our office where they stack up in the corner. When I need a phone number, I use an online directory or search with Google. I don’t look it up in the phone book; the Internet has replaced it.
- Encyclopedias - I remember using the family encyclopedia for all my school reports when I was growing up. I don’t have a set encyclopedias in my home today. I can’t remember the last time I looked up something in an encyclopedia off the shelf. Online encyclopedias, Wikipedia, and search engines have replaced that old set of encyclopedias in my house.
- Libraries - I can remember as a kid going to the library to find books on topics I was researching. In high school, I learned to use the Readers Guide, card catalogs and even find things on microfilm. I am sure we need libraries since they are still around, but today I can do all my research on the Internet. I think the main reason to go to the library is to find access to the Internet. When my grandkids get to college, I will be surprised if they still have a library full of paper books.
- Conferences – Early in my career I attended and spoke at lots of conferences. It was the place to find out about the newest things in the industry. I spent time manning a booth on the exhibit floor and wandering the exhibits to get literature about the latest products. Today, I can get all that information on the Internet. I can find out about new products by visiting vendor web sites. I follow the experts in the field by reading their blogs. I get the latest buzz on Twitter. I can get the live presentation via a Webinar. Okay, going to the conferences in interesting places was fun. But they are not needed like they were in the past. The Internet has replaced most of the reasons I went to conferences.
- Map Books – My Dad always had a map book in the car. Now I just print out my travel route using Google Maps or follow it live with my iPhone. I don’t buy map books. I use the Internet.
That is enough for now. I know this list is not complete. Lots of other activities are now done on the Internet instead of the old way, like buying records at the record store, renting movies, and reading magazines. I am continually amazed at all the ways that we can use the Internet.
What do you do on the Internet that you used to do some other way?