Internet is a worldwide interconnection of networks of computers. It all started on 17th April 1969 with just 4 computers. Today tens of millions of computers are a part of the internet and every computer connected to the internet becomes a part of the internet. Internet consists of a huge collection of websites with lots of information. Any person can register and create a website. This makes internet a powerful source of information with many benefits.
Advantages of Internet in daily life
All information content of the internet is available to everyone. As a common individual, you have a lot to gain from the internet.
Knowledge that comes free of cost: The internet is an ocean of information and knowledge. You can find answers to almost all your questions on the internet. There is information for everyone- school children, college students, young professionals or even the older generations. There are articles and news reports, pictures and videos, blogs and networking sites – everything free of cost. Such huge amount of accessible knowledge makes the internet a very powerful tool.
- E-books: In today's age of internet, more and more newspapers, magazines and books have their electronic versions. These e-books and e-newspapers are increasingly being used by many people. The popularity of e-books (usually available at a lower cost than paperback books) means slowly there will less paper used for making books. Thus, e-books are more eco friendly as well.
- Getting your questions answered: There are many sites and forums on the internet where you can pose any query or question you have. Other people who see your question will be ready to help you with their knowledge. Added advantage here is that you need not reveal your identity, yet you can interact with people and have your doubts cleared.
- Easy Communication: Internet has made distances between places seem very small. Emails can be sent instantly from one part of the world to another. Photos, videos and files can be shared. Internet has also made IM and video chats possible.
- Convenience: With the internet you can get so many of your jobs done from the comfort of your home – buying tickets, paying bills, finding jobs and even shopping. This saves a lot of time and energy which can be used for other productive things.
- Jobs: There are many job portals on the internet that search jobs for you and prepare you for interviews. Not just that, there are many jobs that can be done just using the internet giving you the flexibility of working from home.
- Entertainment: Games, music, videos, TV shows, movies – it's all there on the internet. With an internet connection, you'll never be bored. The world of internet gives you so many options for entertainment.
- Data storage: Internet offers many data storage options for all your valuable data that you never want to lose.
Advantages of Internet for business
Businesses today use the internet to reach out to their customers and gain more visibility for their products resulting in higher revenue as well. Businesses in almost every sector make effective use of the internet and maximize benefits.
- Global Customer Base: Internet gives businesses a global audience. Every company has a website of their own through which they provide easy and quick information about the company. Irrespective of where the company headquarters is, every individual around the world would have insight into the company profile such as their history, product details and contact information through the internet. This gives opportunities for all businesses, big and small, to expand their customer base. In fact, businesses can catch the eye of their potential customers from the time they are established. Businesses can even have their ads on other websites to gain more presence.
- 24×7 online stores: Many companies that sell readymade products have a lot to gain by having an online store on their websites. Since internet works 24×7, the store is open for customers too all through the day and night. Online stores are an easy and convenient way to shop, especially for those who don't stay very near to a physical shop. Apart from giving flexibility to the customers, an online store lets businesses have a store that can sell products and make money 24×7.
- Networking: Internet provides good opportunity to businesses and their employees to connect with customers as well as other businesses. Businesses can form forums and share advice. Customers can communicate through emails for their queries. The growth of social media like twitter and Facebook has been a boon to all business firms looking to connect with their customers.
- Email: Emails provide an easy, convenient and fast method for instant business communication. The advantage with email is that they can be sent and delivered instantly to anyone anywhere in the world. Also there could be attachments to go with emails such as important documents, presentations, etc. Most of these documents could be downloaded and saved in folders in your computer so that they could be used anytime later.
- Cost effective: This is the biggest advantage for businesses. Firstly, ads on the internet cost much less than traditional ways of advertising in newspapers and magazines. Not just that, ads on internet target audience according to their search patterns. This means ads are displayed to those more likely to buy products/services from a company than those who are not. Secondly, setting up and managing an online store works out much cheaper than setting up a physical retail store. Thirdly, internet cuts down on travel costs since retail shop owners can buy goods for resale from suppliers across the world just by placing orders through the internet. Lastly, most communication between two parties can happen through emails, thus saving money on posts and parcels. Emails can be sent not just for text messages but for other file formats such as videos and presentations as well. Internet helps businesses save money in many such little ways which combined together become extremely cost effective.
Cultural Advantages of Internet
Internet has opened the doors for interaction between people of different cultures. Information is exchanged freely and there is more communication between cultures. There are many positive effects of such cultural exchanges.
- Exploration of Cultures: With all information available on the internet, it is possible to learn about any culture. This comes of help especially when you are visiting a new place or country either for business purpose or as a tourist. Having a little knowledge about the culture of the place you are visiting prepares you with the dos and don'ts of their culture.
- Homogenization of cultures: With everyone having access to information about other cultures and adopting them, cultures are getting mixed. This sort of blending of cultures is called homogenization. Every culture is losing its own unique identity but on the other hand homogenization of cultures gives rise to a new global culture.
Social Advantages of Internet
Internet has many social benefits. The biggest social benefits of the internet are due to its speed and convenience.
- Communication: There are emails to replace traditional letters and VoIP to replace traditional telephony. Internet today can be used for any form of communication including video calls.
- Social Network: There are so many social networking sites out there connecting millions of people and bringing them together. Social networking sites offer an excellent platform for finding lost friends, making new friends, sharing thoughts and ideas and exchanging information. Social networking sites have also been used effectively by people to join hands and fight for a cause.
- Sharing life as it happens: No more taking out that huge wedding album from the attic to show to friends when they come home. Now with the power of internet, you can share photos instantly through the many websites offering such services. Not just photos, you can share videos and messages and anything that you would want to share. Blogs let you express your personal thoughts and share it with everyone.
- Research: Internet helps you stay in touch with the latest research. Before the existence of internet you would have had to depend on books and journals, most of which would have been out of date by the time you read them. But internet gives you up to date information on everything.
- Shopping: Online shopping is easy and convenient. You can place your order online and have them delivered to you. There are also many exciting discounts offered when you purchase online.
There were an estimated 2.4 bn internet users in Q2 2012 and this figure can only grow. The internet has provided people with an easy and convenient lifestyle, made social connections possible, and lead to advancements in the way businesses function and homogenization of cultures. Today it is just impossible to think of life without internet. The advantages of internet are many and it is important that the internet is well regulated and used wisely to make the most of benefits offered by the internet.