Global experiences

Why the World Needs the Internet

By now most of you have probably read that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has teamed up with Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera, Qualcomm and Samsung in an effort to help provide internet accessibility to the two-thirds of the world that still lives without it. The global citizenship initiative, entitled Internet.org, intends to focus on developing lower cost, quality smart phones, reducing the high data usage required by most apps, and also developing business models that support mobile operator incentives for providing internet access at little or no cost at all.

 

While I fully support the idea and goal of this global partnership, it triggered me to revisit the question: do we depend too much on the internet? I’d like to think that I could easily get by without the internet, and I’m sure I could if absolutely necessary. However, there’s no doubt that my life would be turned upside down a bit. This has always been an interesting and ironic topic for me because deep down the outdoor enthusiast in me wants to shun technology and prove that life is more fulfilling without it. On the other hand, reality sets in pretty quickly when I remind myself that I work in the digital space, and therefore the well-being of my family partially hangs on the internet.

But take a minute and think about how we use the internet. Those weekend trips with college friends organized over email would suddenly depend on multiple phone calls. Sharing photos via Facebook with family on the opposite side of the country would involve me printing photos and then actually mailing them. Phone calls and postage stamps? I know…So much effort.

 

Obviously this is all certainly possible, and it’s extremely lazy to think any of this is too much trouble, but my point is that we’re extremely privileged to instantaneously communicate with family and friends or obtain news information with just a few clicks on our smartphone.

Our personal lives have certainly been simplified due to the internet, but more than ever we’re now connected globally regardless of where we are and what time it is. The internet provides us the opportunity to become well versed 21st century global citizens. We’re able to consume real-time news via Twitter, and hold remote face-to-face discussions with business partners in China. In classrooms Skype will eventually streamline global 21st Century Skills such as communication and collaboration. YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram will help set the new standard for teenage global awareness and cultural immersion.

So does the world need the internet? You can certainly argue that the internet has perhaps made us a bit lazy, but I can also argue that your day-to-day bubble no longer just encompasses your local community, but the world you live in.

Every one of us. #ConnectTheWorld/Via Youtube: Internet.org

Zach Michonski

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