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The Internet is an important part of our everyday lives however it is not perfect. There are many merits and pitfalls of having easy access to the vast amounts of media and information provided on the Internet.

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Introduction

The Internet has evolved over time. It all began in 1969 as ARPANET. ARPANET was a project of the United States Department of Defense to create a 'nuclear-proof' computer network. This meaning that the network would continue to function even if a part of the network was destroyed. Today, the Internet extends around the globe and includes numerous networks and computers connecting millions of people from all around the world. ( What is the Internet? ;2001) The Internet is a collection of computer networks that use a common software standard to exchange data with each other. Using satellite links and telephone wires, Internet users can share information in different ways. The Internet allows users to easily connect through local computers, exchange e-mails with colleagues, friends and family around the world, post information for others to see, connect with friends and family through social networking sites such as 'Facebook' and 'Myspace', research information and online banking, to name just a few. (What is the Internet?; 2001) The Internet is an important part of our everyday lives however it is not perfect. There are many merits and pitfalls of having easy access to the vast amounts of media and information provided on the Internet. The Internet provides a quick, easy and simple method of searching for information. The Internet has become one large cyber library with enormous amounts of information provided on almost every topic imaginable. ...read more.

Middle

Websites such as Wikipedia are created in such a way that anyone has the opportunity to edit the information available by adding, deleting or modifying it. This falls into the idea of Online Collectivism where the collective is said to be better than the individual. The General Public has the ability to change information that is displayed to the world with just the click of a button. It is a huge power and the information presented might be bias and inaccurate as a regular person writes it. This might leave one at a disadvantage thinking that everything they read is accurate and true. (Lanier:2006) Another pitfall of having access to all this information is that in order to access this information, you need access to a computer and to the Internet. Although this has become much easier with Internet cafes, the use of this online library relies solely on this technological access. Not everyone in this world has that access, especially living in a country like South Africa, it is evident that a large majority of our fellow south Africans do not have this luxury and are therefore disadvantaged when staying up-to-date with current affairs or researching information for educational or work purposes. The Internet has made people lazy. They no longer take the time to go to the library and search for information in books when all one has to do is type a few words and instantly receive the relevant information. ...read more.

Conclusion

People can be taught to turn off, to ignore the beep and the ping." (Appleyard:2008) The Internet provides us not only with information we need for research, but it provides us with news from around the world, social networking sites such as 'facebook' and 'Myspace' connect us to friends and family in different countries, we can pay our bills and transfer money without ever going to the bank with online banking, one can download videos, music and movies and more. The Internet is no longer just a source of information; it is a source of recreation and entertainment. We need to remember that the Internet does not control us. We are in control of our own lives and need to make sure that we do not become dependant on the Internet. We need to continue with our everyday lives and learn to live with these constant distractions without letting them dumb us down. I believe that the Internet was an important discovery and its evolution has certainly impacted our lives greatly but we cannot let the Internet consume us. REFERENCE LIST: Appleyard B. 2008. "Stoopid..why the Google generation isn't as smart as it thinks?" (Online) Available: http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/tech_and_web/the_web/article4362950.ece ( 8 May 2009) Iskold A. 2007. "The Attention Economy: An Overview." (Online) Available: http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/attention_economy_overview.php (8 May 2009) Lanier, J 2006. "DIGITAL MAOISM: The Hazards of the new Online Collectivism. "(Online). Available: http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/lanier06_index.html (8 May 2009) "What is the Internet?" 2001. (online) Available: http://www.centerspan.org/tutorial/net.htm ( 8 May 2009) ...read more.

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