Nami Tefera
24 February 2015
Julia Brett
Essay #2
Could anyone imagine America without internet? Young kids could not help their parents find some peace and quiet without playing their internet games on their iPads, iPods, or iPhones. Middle schoolers, high schoolers, and college students would have to spend so much more time doing homework without the tons of information they could easily find with a simple google search and an effortless click of a button. And of course, what adults have the time to search for the latest news without their downloadable CNN apps or communicate with each other without Facebook or a quick and easy business e-mail? The collection of information on the internet allows citizens worldwide to easily access information for any reason, which saves time and makes life more efficient for everyone. The ability to search for jobs, receive exact directions, access breaking news, purchase anything, collect information, and display or read advertisements with a few simple clicks of a button on a phone, laptop, tablet, or desktop is a huge improvement from the centuries before us. However, is it possible that us humans depend too much on the internet now? Few people seem to notice that among all the buzz and innovation of technological advances, many individuals get so wrapped up in what is new that they fail to see how it effects them personally. The demise of the sincerity of relationships and not being mentally and emotionally present for the value of the moment causes one to miss out on so much of life’s gifts. Although we are making huge steps forward in technology and the internet, we must also examine the not-so-noticeable steps back America continues to make along with them. Just like Andrew Brown, the famous New Zealand movie producer who created classic films once said, “The internet is so big, so powerful and pointless that for some people it is a complete substitute for life.” Is the internet simply something that we occasionally reference day to day for help, or is it becoming a substitute for life? This essay examines the substitute for life that millions of people voluntarily make for themselves through the internet and how it affects everyone. Internet users that spend a significant amount of their time online begin to become defined by what they watch, play, and do online.
The timeline of the internet becoming attainable to multiple devices shows that the growth of technology and the accessibility of users to the internet has been a fairly fast process. Alan Greenblatt, a researcher and writer whom specifically studies how and if technology is changing the way we think set up a timeline that showed how millions of internet users became infatuated by the internet in less than forty years. Greenblatt began the timeline by stating that the first call made on a handheld cell phone was in 1973, and by 1991, the world wide web was launched. Shortly after that, Google was launched to be used by all users in 1998. However, from 1983-1988, the internet was only used by approximately ten percent of the world’s nineteen million personal computers. The computers that used internet during that time were mostly used in businesses that were connected to mainframes, and by professional devices for businesses reasons. From 1983-1988, the internet served its purpose well in the population since it was used for commercial, business, and marketing reasons rather than it being used consistently like it is now. Finally, the internet became the dominant mass medium in the early 2000’s since it finally allowed two way communication. In 2002,the number of Americans with access to e-mail doubled to fifty seven million from 30 million in 2000. In 2004, Facebook was launched. Lastly, in 2007, Apple’s iPhone reformed smartphone market till present day (Greenblatt). Just like one of the highly esteemed authors of The Washington Post stated, “Apple has sold eighty five million iPhones in the United States alone since its 2007 launch and 34 million iPads since 2010...compared to Samsung who sold 21.25 million phones and 1.4 million Galaxy tablets” (Tsukayama). Handheld gadgets such as: iPhones, iPod touches, e-Readers, and smartphones, whom millions of United States citizens possess today, have been some of the most influential tools of how users let the internet define who