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How the Internet Makes the World Smaller

Not that long ago, it seems, most people did not travel very far. They lived and worked in a small geographical area. They spent time with their family members, friends and co-workers on a regular basis and got to know them. The evening news reported local, national and other stories from around the world. The rest of the world seemed far away, then.

Slowly at first, then with increasing speed, the Internet is changing that view. The world is still the same size; yet the Internet has succeeded in shrinking the distance we perceive in almost all of our relationships, personal and business.

Today, personal computers and laptops are affordable for a large majority of people. Hardware and software is designed to be more user-friendly. Next the focus is on the ability to connect and surf the Internet, then increasing connection speed, then going wireless, then hand-held devices with all of the above.

All types of information can quickly be shared via email, text messaging and instant messaging. Also, many websites allow the user to upload and/or download data, music and images. Despite the fear of identity theft, many people still pay their bills on-line, shop on-line and network with friends, relatives and coworkers on-line. The convenience and speed are worth the risk.

In business, automotive suppliers, for example, maintain quote files, often with photos of original parts and some marked up with details of a change. They can use the email system to communicate with team members or sophisticated websites like WebEx to collaborate on projects.

*Emails can include various types of attachments. Word, Excel, Power Point, JPEG and PDF are some common ones. It’s important to know whether the receiver has a system compatible with yours.

*WebEx (www.webex.com) makes it possible for virtual teams to work together no matter where the participants live. Participants invite others, to meet instantly, and share what is on their computer screen so everyone sees the same thing at the same time. It is much more efficient than trying to tell someone what you are looking at so they understand. Since traveling to someone else’s desk or an office across town, is not necessary, everyone can resume their current task quickly when the meeting has ended.

*Videoconferencing, once designed for business, can be used for personal needs as well. Families and friends who want to connect live when there is a great distance between them appreciate the closeness that can be maintained, easier than just by telephone.

Due to the Internet, we may not have occupy the same cubicle all day to get our work done. We can work anywhere there is a connection. We may not sit on the porch in the evening to get to know our neighbors, yet we can pursue relationships on-line anytime. The world is at our fingertips.

If you happen to be out of town and you recognize someone from your local area, you may say “What a small world!” Today, thanks to the internet, it is! Isn’t it?

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