It used to be that if you wanted to know something you had to seek it out. You had to reach out to other people, you had to leave your house, you had to ask questions out loud (*shudder*) to other humans. You had to buy products (often newspapers, periodicals, books) that would teach you what you wanted to learn or go to a class on the subject.
Thank goodness those days are over! These days, you don’t have to hunt down the things you want to know. These days you can let the things you want to know find you. Technology has given us the entire world literally at our fingertips 24/7. Here are some of the areas in which technology has changed the way in which we do things and learn things.
Nobody alive today remembers what it was like to actually have to go to a ball game to find out what happened there. Even our greatest grandparents could listen to games live on the radio. What might mystify some of the people reading this is that there are people who are becoming adults today who do not remember a time when they couldn’t immediately call up any game they wanted to see with just a few clicks of a button. There are also cable sports packages and television sets that are built to allow you to watch multiple live game broadcasts simultaneously on the same screen.
Some of you reading this might remember a time when the only television stations you could watch were the few that your television’s rabbit ears could pick up or the few channels offered by your local cable provider. For example, twenty years ago if you lived in Nashville (and other small cities) you likely only had access to a handful of different cable channels. Wow have times changed. For example, check out DirecTV deals in Nashville here. Even people who lived in rural areas where they previously couldn’t get signals can now get hundreds of channels via satellite feeds.
To this end, portals like YouTube and Vimeo make it possible for independent entertainers to create their own shows and networks without having to worry about finding sponsors or selling ads. Crash Course, Lizzie Bennet Diaries, The Guild–all of these are successful series that were produced and broadcast independently online. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries even won an Emmy!
Once upon a time people had to wait for the paper to come out before they could find out what was happening in the world. Then the internet and blogging happened. Suddenly citizen journalists could build audiences just as large (if not larger) than tried and true news insitutions. In fact, many citizen journalists are now held in higher esteem than the traditional news outlets most of us grew up with. Need proof? Check out Snopes.com.
It’s also worth noting that news breaks all day on the internet. As soon as something happens it’s spread virally via social media and many people are more likely to trust the reporting they see on Twitter than the reporting they see on television or in newspapers or magazines.
Raise your hands if you used to sit in front of your radio for hours waiting for your favorite song to be played so that you could record it on to a cassette tape! No? Nobody? Ask your parents, kids.
Today people can find just about any song they want to hear online. More importantly, independent musicians who might not have ever been able to make a name for themselves under the old “labels” system are now earning great livings via independent sales on sites like iTunes, Amazon, BandCamp, CDBaby, etc.
We’ve all accepted that shopping online is how the future works. Being able to get anything you want sent to you is pretty great. Beyond this, however, is the change in how we literally pay for the items we purchase. PayPal, Square, ApplePay–all of these systems make it possible to exchange money for goods and services without needing cash or cards to complete the transaction. Today you can just wave your phone in front of a payment sensor and viola! You just paid for your groceries.
We’re also using technology to explore different forms of currency that aren’t connected to any existing world markets. Bitcoin, for example, is being accepted by more and more merchants. Soon everybody will carry some bitcoins in their online accounts.
These are just some of the ways that technology and the web have changed how we do things. What are some of your favorite advances that have been made to improve our daily lives?