Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Making Connections: The Importance of the Internet


This is the final draft of my first English 101 essay of the semester. I’ve cleaned it up a bit to make it a little more readable than the draft I turned in. Bear in mind that I only had roughly two hours to write this thing with no access to research materials, so don’t be expecting a masterpiece. Alas, I did not receive extra points for catching my instructor’s cold. I still got an A-, so it’s all good. Enjoy.

 

Making Connections: The Importance of Internet

A couple nights ago, there was a hail storm in my neighborhood. Hail the size of golf balls rained down, breaking car windows, causing damage to homes, and—more importantly—wreaking havoc with the power lines in my neighborhood. My power went out and with it, so too went my internet connection. I hadn’t realized just how much I relied on the world-wide-web until that moment. You see, I was in the middle of researching a topic I was told would be on my exit exam—an essay on health and fitness. I had no research materials at home on that particular subject, and because of the lateness of the hour, I couldn’t just pop on over to the nearest library or bookstore. I couldn’t even complain about it to my Facebook friends! It was then I came to the conclusion that the internet had to be the most important invention of the last one hundred years.

What did the average Joe or Jane do in the early 1900’s when they needed to research a subject? It was libraries back then, wasn’t it? Libraries, bookstores, or encyclopedia were the only resources at their disposal. Libraries close. So do bookstores. Encyclopedia can be expensive to update, not to mention bulky. Today we have various search engines like Google and Bing that help us find sources. Instead of the encyclopedia, we have Wikipedia, a web based encyclopedia that is updated daily. Even the Library of Congress is online now.

It’s easier to work at home now then it was back then as well. Even writers who can work just about anywhere eventually needed to leave their homes to mail off manuscripts and talk to their publishers. Now we have email and Skype. My boss recently moved back to Georgia to be closer to her ailing mother. She “Skypes” the office twice a day and gets fidgety if we don’t email her financial reports at least once a week.

But I think the most important thing people of the past didn’t have that we do today was a certain connectivity to not only their neighbors, but different cultures. Yes, there were telephones and snail mail, but without an internet connection, most people didn’t get the chance to meet anyone outside of their own neck of the woods. I have friends in all parts of the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, and Japan—to name a few. Where else would I have ever gotten the chance to meet these people or learn about their cultures if it weren’t for my blessed modem?

Some say the internet has caused communities to drift apart, that it has stolen our sense of intimacy with each other, but I disagree. We’re closer than we’ve ever been before being only a few keystrokes away. We have more opportunities and more resources. How can that be a bad thing?

Eventually the power came back on and my connection was back up. I checked on some Facebook friends I knew to be locals to see how they fared with the storm. Then I got back to work.

 

Special Note to My Coworkers: Yes, I know we don’t have Skype. I needed examples and filler and such. Stop knit-picking.

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