The Internet is Not a Global Phenomenon
Since the beginning of time, mankind has been involved in a never-ending quest to learn more about the world in which he lives. Our natural curiosity leads us to question everything and investigate the way in which the world around us works. Human beings also have a natural tendency to want to explore and see things in the world around them which they have never seen before. It is in that sense that the Internet is a perfect extension of human nature. It is a medium which transcends boundaries and makes the world a smaller place -- much as the media of printing, radio and television did before it. But is there anything really left to explore? The very problem with having the vast expanse of the knowledge that is the Internet before us, is that even before we experience something first hand, we have already passively experienced it one way or another. For instance, we can marvel at the majesty of the Grand Canyon but we can never look upon as the people of a century ago did. They would have had no idea of what to expect, but our sense of surprise is muted by what we have already seen in pictures and videos.
Nevertheless, the Internet remains a source of great knowledge and possibility, affecting all facets of the wired citizen's life. Consider the example of the US, who have the greatest proportion of net users in the world:
-Business: The Web is impacting business from the top down. Roughly 92% of CEOs, CFOs and CIOs around the world had Net access in 1998, according to Andersen Consulting. And in Growing up Digital, Don Tapscott believes when the new generation of Internet-using kids enters the workforce, corporations and employers will be forced to become more open, less hierarchical and more collaborative.
-Religion: One New York Bishop put it this way: "If Jesus were walking the earth today I'm convinced He would have an email address." The American Bible Society uses the Web to deliver content found in the Bible. Dozens of Catholic churches use Web sites to garner new recruits.
-Politics: The majority of the USA's top lawmakers receive a daily email tally of how many of their constituents favour or oppose a specific issue. And President Clinton received millions of emails while he was in office.
-Careers: About 10% of jobs are filled through the Internet in the U.S., according to Terri Bonar-Stewart, CEO of a Cincinnati-based consulting company. This summer 82% of college grads will search for careers and employment information online, according to SBC Internet Services; 66% will email their resumes to prospective to employers; 55% will post their resumes online.
-Language: The latest edition of the New Oxford Dictionary of English includes definitions for Web slang including "snail mail," "applet," "geek," "digerati" and "mouse potato."
-Leisure: Researchers at the Yankee Group and elsewhere have found TV viewing decreases in households with Internet access.
But is the internet...