The Internet is increasing interpersonal connectivity and organizational involvement. Since the potential of this communication technology was first contemplated with the development of ARPAnet – a relatively primitive network developed with military purposes in 1968 – to the present days where Internet has made possible for individuals, corporations and governments to communicate and share information faster than ever; the interaction between people and organizations from all over the world has never been easier or more effective.
The Internet has influenced different aspects of society, most of the changes have been for the best, but there are some bad effects to the internet as well. One of the ways this technology has generally improved the quality of life of individuals all over the world is by significantly reducing the time destined to perform a wide variety of tasks, from the simplest to the incredibly complex, therefore saving time.
Online Banking, for example, is only one of the numerous ways people are able to save hours by doing their regular financial transactions from their homes instead of taking the usual trip to the bank, which most of time involves getting in traffic and waiting in line before being able to do simple tasks such as making payments or sending money to a relative. Nowadays, “Most banks and credit unions offer online banking. You can check your balance, transfer funds, pay bills and more.
If your financial institution doesn’t offer free online banking, you can still use the internet to pay many bills. ” (Goss, 2006) For Organizations, especially those with presence in different cities, states or even countries; the Internet has become an amazing tool, since it has made it possible, among many other things, to share information in real time and to held meetings online between managers of the different branches without wasting time or money in expensive business trips.
This reduction in time increases the overall efficiency of the organization and its ability to grow in a way that would not have been possible in the past. Besides being an amazing way to save time for individuals and organizations, one of the most important benefits of this technology has brought us is the storage and organization of the human knowledge; combined of course, with the ease in which that information can be retrieved by any user.
This amazing feature enables academics, students, or scientists to find the available information or data required for the future development of new theories, technologies and investigations, exponentially increasing the speed in which we advance and develop as human beings; while, for organizations the availability of all this information is an excellent tool for departments such as marketing, R&D, sales, among many others (McGregor, 1998).
The amount of information being uploaded to the web to be shared among people everywhere has created a sort of “global community”, allowing for example, activists of environmental causes to connect worldwide by sharing the same concerns and objectives; while letting businesses find customers anywhere in the planet; this is why it can be said that the internet has eliminated many of the traditional borders.
In the present, Internet has also emerged as a source for developing social contacts among people and for keeping friends and families in touch through tools such as email; the development of which revolutionized the way people communicate with each other. In the past, the technologies available to communicate with distant relatives were either slow, inefficient or expensive.
To send a letter to someone in a foreign country could take days, weeks or even months depending on the distance and the efficiency of the foreign postal service office, the telegraph limited the length of the message transmitted and the long distance calls were too expensive for the average population. Nowadays, to send an email is free, the message gets transmitted instantly and potentially there is no limit on the length of the message being communicated.
Services developed more recently, such as Skype, allow people to make long distance calls for a fraction of the cost and even to hold videoconferences with someone on the other side of the world. This ability to communicate instantly has encouraged the development of social networks, where it is easy for anyone to join and meet new people with the same interests. This technology, therefore, has eliminated geographic and political barriers between individuals, allowing them to interact with potential friends and partners from all over the world.
Nowadays is not unusual to hear news about couples who met on the internet and traveled huge distances to meet each other. By having the possibility to interact with people from different cultures who share the same interests and problems, it is easier for anyone to find advice from different perspectives and points of view. On the other hand, some people debate that the Internet is also inconvenient; a waste the time, and that it has isolated us from society, decreasing the interaction with people face to face while increasing the company of computers, and overall making our lives more complicated.
There have been cases where the dependence on the internet for social interaction and for company has been so high that people have become attached to it in a compulsive manner. According to Julia Bursten and Mark Dombeck “this phenomena of compulsive Internet use has been termed ‘Internet Addiction’ based on its superficial similarity to common addictions such as smoking, drinking, and gambling. ” (2004) and according to specialists, this problem predominates among socially isolated middle school boys that retreat to their computers rather than engaging in social activities (The Boston Globe, 2009).
Another negative effect appreciated from the increase use of the Internet are the online love affairs”. While meeting people online, it is easy to create a bond with the person on the other end of the screen, and from there, it is very simple to cross the line and start becoming emotionally attached to the other person. The problem for couples is that it is very difficult to detect if your partner is cheating online and when detected, it can be too late to go back to a healthy relationship.
Besides of internet addiction and online love affairs, cyber crime has become a growing concern for users and for the police. Cyber crime is defined by the Computer Crime Research Center (2004) as “a criminal activity committed on the internet. This is a broad term that describes everything from electronic cracking to denial of service attacks that cause electronic commerce sites to lose money” and can be directed against individuals, property or the government.
This type of crime emerged with the development of the internet and ranges from harassment to reproduction of copyrighted material and credit fraud among many other activities. All in all the rise of the internet and the role it plays in the world today is becoming more and more important in the society, economy, culture and people’s life. It contributes to less laborious work, it saves our time, facilitate our lives and despite of some of its negative effects, the overall benefit that it can bring to mankind depends only in the way individuals and organizations use it.