The Internet itself is one of the greatest inventions of our time, but it has gone on to inspire several other innovations. During the first decade of the twentieth century, people truly started realizing what the Internet was capable of, and what we could do with this new technology.
The economic and technological potential of the Internet and World Wide Web will only continue to expand, but it has already led to many impressive societal achievements.
1. Social networking websites have had a very brief history, and they have already made a tremendous impact on the world. Social media has been tremendously influential in major political events ranging from protests to political and presidential elections.
People are now able to communicate across seemingly insurmountable barriers and spread their ideas faster than ever before, thanks to social media websites like Twitter and Facebook.
2. Search engines have made almost all forms of research and information retrieval easier on a level most people could never even have conceived before now. Search engine websites allow people to do research that would have taken them hours in a few minutes. Their impact on education is almost incalculable.
Using search engines is now a huge part of modern culture, and allows people to continue their education in a new way, long after they have left school.
3. Smart phones would be mere phones without the advent of the Internet. Their functionality would be impossible with a standard phone. Many people now rely on having Smart phones specifically for their livelihoods and social lives. Smart phones have had tremendous implications in terms of public safety, convenience, and technological compartmentalization.
Smart phones can do almost anything, from helping people access the Internet from almost any location to taking pictures.
4. User-generated content has put the power back in the hands of the public in a new way. In the early days of the Internet, professionals and businesses produced everything and the process was still very top-down in nature. Today, almost anyone can have a web presence and reach an audience of hundreds, thousands, or millions of people on their own creative merits.
Free blogging software that is easy to use, video sharing websites like Youtube, and many other outlets have given people the opportunity to express themselves on a level and a scale that was very difficult in older media landscapes.
The new media landscape has created job opportunities that literally did not exist twenty years ago and socializing venues that would be very hard to describe to a person from thirty years ago. User-generated content extends as far as online publishing and ebooks, which are changing the way books get produced in the first place.
5. Crowd-funding websites like Kickstarter are recent even compared to other Internet innovations, but they are already making a tremendous impact.
People can now earn a living off of a diverse range of products and projects that they conceive and often produce themselves. Getting a small amount of funding from a large number of people is made much easier through outlets like crowd-funding websites.
Crowd-funding is a new trend that could only occur with an overarching framework like the Internet and World Wide Web, which can bring producers and consumers together.