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The Internet and Us It’s no secret that when the World Wide Web busted onto the scene more than 25 years ago, it completely changed our lives forever. Gone are the days of hitting up the nearest Blockbuster for a video rental or making a stop at the local record store to pick out the your favorite CD. Over time, the internet has become a one-stop shop for entertainment. People meet on it, fall in love on it, go shopping, play games, watch movies, plan vacations, listen to music – just about anything a heart can desire. So, just how much has the internet changed our lives? According to the Washington Post, the list could go on and on, but the following 10 ways have surely changed us forever. We don’t need music stores. Sam Goody was a popular store, but they aren’t around today. Unsurprisingly, other chains that retail the analog predecessors of digital things — Blockbuster, Borders, Moviefone — have also shut down. We cook from computers. Sales of cookbooks still do well, but millions of people use sites like AllRecipes and Food.com to decide what to eat — a switch that’s gradually changing recipe preferences. Says culinary historian Jan Longone, “I personally wouldn’t go to the Internet for a recipe … but 20 years from now, I’m probably going to be obsolete.” Many languages have died out — or are in the process of doing so. Only 5 percent of the world’s 7,700+ languages have migrated to the Internet, leading some scholars to believe they’ll fade out entirely within the next 100 years. Wikipedia has launched a language “incubator” to help battle that trend. We watch TV shows and movies whenever we want. Gone are the days of VCRs and blank video cassettes! Given the primacy of online-streaming services — and the gradual ease and normalization of digital piracy — even DVRs are looking kind of obsolete. Music discovery lost its magic. Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, Slacker — who needs to dig through record bins anymore? Watches serve no functional purpose. People can easily check the time on a phone or computer, so today’s watches are often for fashion only. We’re more socially connected than we were pre-Internet. This isn’t true for everyone: A Pew study found that, between 1985 and 2009, there was actually a small drop in the percentage of people who say they have no confidants — a key indicator of social isolation. But in that same study, Internet and cellphone users reported having more confidants and larger social networks. Internet users are also more trusting in general. Thanks, Facebook! We don’t wait in line at banks. In those nowdistant pre-Internet days, people had to physically go into a bank, or at least call it, to check their balance or deposit a check. Online banking has long since eliminated the former task — more than half of U.S. adults now bank online. We are our own doctors. 72 percent of Internet users, goes online for health information. Slightly scarier: 50 percent of doctors do the same. Online: www.washingtonpost.com Internet Changes Since 1995 Companies: • 1995: The Internet stars were companies you’ve never heard of like PSINet, RentPath, iLive, Axel Springer, and Netcom On-Line. Total market capitalization of the top 15 public Internet companies: $16.8 billion • 2015: Today, it’s Apple, Google, Alibaba, Facebook, Amazon, Tencent, and Baidu (three of those, Alibaba, Tencent, and Baidu, are Chinese firms). Total market capitalization of the top 15 public Internet companies: $2.4 trillion Internet Users: • 1995: 35 million: 0.6 percent of the population • 2014: 2.8 billion: 39 percent of the population Mobile Phone Users: • 1995: 80 million mobile phone users, 1 percent population penetration • 2014: 5.2 billion mobile phone users, 73 percent population penetration – and the report notes that Internet ads are growing steadily on mobile devices, while the desktop is “decelerating.” The report also notes that “buy buttons” (for making purchase of related products and services) on the mobile Internet are popping up everywhere now, including on Twitter, Facebook, and Google. Internet Viewing: • 2010: 5 percent of “view time” was spent doing so-called “vertical viewing,” which KPCB defines as viewing on mobile devices (versus desktop, laptop, and TV). • 2015: 29 percent of view time is on mobile devices. Other Internet trends • Top messaging apps globally in the first quarter of 2015 by usage: Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger (Facebook), Instagram, Line (Japan), KakaoTalk (Korea), and Snapchat. The report notes that chat/mobile messaging apps could evolve into “central communications hubs” with “more and more services.” • Facebook and Twitter are losing ground in the 12-24-year-olds social media category to Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp, and Pinterest. • Facebook video viewing has surged to 4 billion video views per day in the first quarter of 2015 from 1 billion only six months ago. • User-generated live gaming/streaming monthly active users (MAU) growing 122 percent year to year on Twitch to 100 million. • User-generated written content/stories seeing 140 percent year-to-year growth on Wattpad to 125 million cumulative stories. • Drones are driving a new wave of Big Data collection/ analysis, e.g., drones are being used in precision agriculture, infrastructure inspection, mining/quarrying, and disaster response. Online: www.foxnews.com


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