I don't even know where to begin to explore the kind of impact the Internet has had on life as we know it in the last several years. You might find some people who feel the impact has been negative, that it has posed threats to our privacy, corrupted youth, and hurt traditional business by competing with price and speed.
Yet, I feel, overall the Internet has offered so many more positive opportunities than negative ones, and has impacted more people than any other technological innovation this century. And you know with me, everything is perception. You can choose to see the detriments or you can see the benefits. I choose to use the Internet for the powerful medium that it is.
Because I believe just about anything is possible with the Internet, I make the most of it. I use it to improve all areas of my life and those of my coaching clients.
Below, I've summarized 6 ways the Internet can help you live smarter, happier, and better!
Get an Education.
This was the original intent of the Internet, to connect universities around the globe sharing knowledge. Now, the educational possibilities are endless. Many people get their news online reading newspapers, subscribing to news feeds, or reading news-oriented websites. Others can study just about anything that strikes their interest with online education, webinars, and sites like Wikipedia, the virtual dictionary/encyclopedia. And websites, articles, forums, and other sites dedicated to education are available on any subject you can imagine.
After education, I think entertainment in a wide variety of formats was the next major use of the Internet. Gamers from around the globe compete against each other in this virtual medium, and many regular Internet users have their favorite games or entertainment sites. I have coaching clients who tell me they have ongoing competitions with friends for the highest score in FreeCell, a popular card game. I'm sure I don't even know all the various forms of entertainment available online, since that's not my focus, but you can be sure, if you can imagine it, it's available on the Internet.
Shop for What You Need.
With the emergence of eBay and Amazon, the Internet became the place to shop. I do believe there is nothing you cannot purchase online. Amazon is the world's largest bookstore and has virtually made shopping at your mall bookshop obsolete. After all, you can find the book you're looking for at the tap of your keyboard, rather than wandering aimlessly through rows and rows of bookshelves. (Of course, some of us still enjoy the tactile experience of picking up books and leafing through them!)
You can get almost any item you're looking for on Amazon, who has partnered up with other merchants. On eBay, if you like the thrill of an auction, you can get new or used items at bargain prices by bidding against other shoppers. eBay has also become a successful outlet for those who want to clean out their garages and closets, since just about anyone can sell just about anything on eBay and other auction similar sites.
Do Your Research Homework.
This is one usage for which I praise the Internet. Here is one place where you can do research on just about any subject. Google, the king of search engines, is gold when it comes to research. Before the Internet, you had to sit for hours in the library searching for the right resources to find what you were looking for or spend countless hours making phone calls.
For example, you can research the best travel opportunities for airfares, hotels, rental houses, things to do when you get there, and more. You can research almost any subject for almost any purpose-writing a book, developing your website, making a career change, building a business, planning a diet, comparing financial opportunities, and so much more.
Build and Manage a Virtual Business.
You can start an online business or you can expand your offline business. Local businesses from chiropractors and dentists to global businesses like web designers and consultants all benefit from websites. They can provide a professional presence to display their expert status, and they can use their site as a lead generator.
Additionally, the explosion of Internet based businesses, those primarily selling both tangible and intangible products, has seen no equal in terms of new business growth. Selling information in the form of e-books, e-courses, audio files, teleclasses, and more has spawned the new "infopreneur," an entrepreneur who sells information.
Meet and Connect With Great People.
The explosion of social media or social networking in the last few years is a cultural phenomenon. It began with MySpace, and exploded into an ever-expanding list of networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and for the more business-minded LinkedIn and Plaxo. Through the amazing reach of the Internet you can find old college roommates, connect with long-lost relatives, and make a lot of new friends.
Besides the social sites, there are message boards, chat rooms, and communities on Yahoo groups where people can communicate with those of like interests or like industries. And we can't forget the communication phenomenon of e-mail, which connects anyone with everyone. New on the scene is Skype, where you can instant message or talk live for free to anyone anywhere. And my favorite social connector on the Internet is the blog, which is where you are most likely reading this article.
Can you think of anything that is not possible with the Internet? I can't! The only limits are your imagination... and technology!