This Sunday, October 29 marks the 12th anniversary of International Internet Day. Designed to commemorate the first remote connection between two computers, achieved on October 29, 1969, International Internet Day is “a chance to celebrate the people who helped build the internet, while also giving us a moment to reflect on all the ways that it has changed our lives forever.”
There are certainly countless examples of the latter, particularly when it comes to enterprise technology and the way in which we work. However, the internet has also irrevocably changed our personal lives, impacting everything from how people shop for groceries to how they meet their spouses. In fact, being online has become such an integral part of modern society that it’s hard to picture what life would be like without the world wide web. But, on the eve of International Internet Day, we encourage you to reflect on the benefits of connectivity by doing exactly that. Below are a few scenarios to get you started…
“Hello, 411? Can I get the listing of all the Party City’s in a 30-mile radius?”
Picture this: It’s a Thursday night and you’re suddenly gripped with the realization that you spaced on buying “Pin the Tail on Sven” for your daughter’s Frozen- themed birthday party on Saturday. In the internet-enabled world, you could simply whip out your phone and order it on Amazon Prime faster than you can ask, “Do you want to build a snowman?” In the bleak, internet-free parallel universe, however, you’d be stuck speed dialing every party store in the area in a desperate bid to get your hands on the game. Because let’s face it, no matter what you do to make up for your oversight, you know your daughter is never going to let it go.
You can’t get there from here
No internet means no Uber, no Lyft, no Flywheel, etc. It also means no pocket-sized GPS that goes where you go, enabling you to instantly pull up your location to find directions, nearby amenities and other essential information for someone in an unfamiliar area. Let’s say your flight to your best friend’s wedding is delayed and you arrive after the airport has largely shut down. The cab stand is vacant and, since you can’t summon a ride-sharing app on your phone, you hoof it to the bus stop a few blocks away. It gets you kind of close to your friend’s house, but you’re forced to navigate the last mile by asking directions from less-than-reliable late-night bar patrons, the sporadic early morning jogger, and gas station attendants. But, on the plus side, you score some Combos and a Mountain Dew for dinner, which comes in handy given that you have no clue where the closest fast food joint is.
If it didn’t get 100+ likes on Facebook, did it actually happen?
In our 24/7 social media world, it’s become second nature to share things in real-time. Read an article that resonates with you? Link to it on Facebook and see how many of your friends agree. Subway breakdown on your evening commute? Post about it on Twitter and tag the city’s transportation department handles, asking for an update on the resolution. Snap a breathtaking sunset pic on your dream Thailand vacation? Put it on Instagram with the #NoFilter hashtag to let all your followers know it was actually that beautiful in person.
Eliminating the internet from these scenarios means drastically changing how people interact and share information. You’d have to actually discuss that moving article with your friends in order to glean their reactions—although that would give you something to do while you sit on the subway with no indication of the estimated wait time, seeing as you can’t scroll through Twitter for updates. And that amazing Thailand trip? Your friends might be envious, but by the time you’ve come home and waited a week for your photos to be developed, their envy will have abated significantly.
These are just a few scenarios that underscore how integral the internet has become to our daily life. Based on a quick poll we conducted on Twitter, this sentiment is echoed by our follower base. Social media was the most popular internet-enabled service with 50% of respondents saying they rely on social channels the most. Amazon Prime was the runner up, followed by entertainment apps like Netflix, Hulu, etc. For more on what life would be like without these and other internet services, check out this video from AT&T.
Luckily, this is a reality we don’t have to face thanks to all those who helped make the internet what it is today. So on October 29th, take a moment to recognize how fortunate we are to have the web—whether it’s for ordering Frozen gear, negotiating a ride or just getting social with your friends.