Have you ever googled your name? Have you ever googled a friend’s or college’s name? If so, you have seen a lot of information about someone that he or she might not have told you. If so, you might have even seen information about yourself that you would not have told anyone. If so, you might have even seen information about yourself that you had already forgotten. But the internet has a long memory.
You are visiting another city with your friends and you want to go out at night, but you have no idea where to go. You want to cook a special dinner for your girlfriend, but boiling water already challenges you. You want to understand people when they use smart-sounding words such as “abligurition”, which you cannot even pronounce.
No more than half a century ago, you would have had to find information about the club-scene locally, to open a cooking book and buy a dictionary. Today, however, you can just visit the internet and find the best clubs, lots of cooking ideas and that “abligurition” just means to spend a lot of money on food.
The internet helps you to make your life easier, it helps you to get ideas, to get informed and thanks to “YouTube” and “Netflix” it even helps you to fill the day, when you have nothing much to do. So the victorious march the internet has undertaken into our homes and our hearts is not at all surprising. That this phenomenon is a global one also proves that it is something bigger than our cultural differences and personal habits. Today the internet is used worldwide.
Almost 4 Billion people use the internet every day that is almost half of the world’s population spread over different countries and different continents. In only a second there are almost eight thousand tweeds and three thousand Skype calls. Let us not forget about the 65 thousand Google searches and two and a half million emails sent per second.
If you read quite fast it will still have taken you approximately 90 seconds to read everything above, which means that in the same time you missed over 720 Thousand Tweeds.
In some mind-games you might ask yourself sometimes if you could live without the internet today or what would you give up to keep your internet access; is it just some little things, or would you sacrifice something more essential? Is the access to internet as precious as the Human Rights, for example? The UN seems to think so.
In a resolution the UN already declared “online freedom” as a Human Right. And it is true that after the invention of Gutenberg’s printing press the internet has been the most important invention to guarantee the freedom of speech, another fundamental Human Right.
We use the internet not only to search for funny videos, but to find information, to be connected with each other and take part in the development of a global society.
However, in many parts of today’s world people are still facing displacement through war, limited access to essential resources and persecution due to their political believes, their sexual orientation or the colour of their skin and their gender.
Should we focus on these issues or does the access to internet has the right to be named among those challenges for our time?
Could maybe a general internet access for everybody help in the education sector, open people’s mindset and assist to overcome stereotypes? On the other hand, could the internet not be used to spread radical ideas, as we have already seen many times?
All these questions will be answered by history, but we all have to ask them.