By the year 1995, internet was available for commercial use through the U.S. At the time the internet was revolutionary, but underwhelming compared to the capabilities of what we know and utilize today. Many different applications and programs use the internet to augment their creation into something bigger. Now, in the year 2018, we utilize the internet for a magnitude of different tasks and operations. According to the Pew Research Center (2018), 89% of U.S. adults use the internet daily. This number only increases as you segment the population by demographical age. 98% of adults, like myself, ages 18-29 use the internet daily. Even the lowest percentage, 66% of adults ages 65+, is higher than it was in the year 2000 (14%). It is clear to see that the internet has changed the way we go throughout our daily lives. For myself, the internet changed the way in which I interact with family and friends, and the way in which I navigate the academic world.

There is no question that the internet has changed the way in which we engage with one another in social interactions. The internet itself created a system in which applications, such as, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Facetime can utilize its worldwide reach and connect individuals regardless of the distance between them. Social media sites provide a framework in which individuals can navigate to connect with friends, family, and even strangers with shared interests. However, social media sites are not the only internet-using application that has strong social capabilities. Online video games have increased over the years, and now the video game industry is responding to a consumer driven desire for online interaction. In previous decades, games such as Super Mario, and Tetris were popular and huge sellers. Now, in a world of constant communication and entertainment, video game players desire interactions between players. Single player games are no longer as popular as they once were, and now games where players interact with one another are on the rise. For myself, this is an important part of how I engage within my social groups, but also with members of my family.

I have been playing video games since I knew what a game system was, but as I got older, I notice a shift in the rationale behind why I dedicate so much time to video games. I am the first to admit, that there are much more beneficial and productive activities I could be engaging in, but video games hold a value beyond the explicit entertainment factor. For me, it provides a way in which I can communicate and spend time with my brother. When my brother left for the Air Force, it created a void between us with very little opportunities for interaction. He was overseas, and calling home was expensive and time-zones created a very difficult dynamic to navigate. Finally, when he settled into his semi-permanent location, we were able to play online games and connect again. Our relationship has always been maintained by activities such as basketball, swimming, and other physical things. We had to find something to supplement what was lost, and video games provided not only a platform to communicate, but an activity to do together. Often individuals that are not invested in video games can generalize video games as a waste of time, money, and energy. However, like many things, they provide benefits beyond explicit perceptions. The internet game these video games the capability to go from single player games of social isolation, to a web of social interactions within a virtual universe. The internet not only allows me to communicate with friends and family, it also changes the way in which I pursue knowledge.

It is hard to imagine a location of vast knowledge as big as the Library of Congress. According to their website, the Library of Congress includes a collection of more than 39 million books and other printed materials, 3.6 million recordings, 14.8 photographs, 5.5 million maps, 8.1 million pieces of sheet music, and 72 million manuscripts. Libraries all across the globe are filled with so much knowledge that one person can never expect to learn it all. These public institutions created a place in which individuals could research and learn about fascinating subjects free of charge. It went along with the vision of an educated society where knowledge was a right to everyone. Fast forward to now, and libraries are hanging onto every penny just to keep the doors open; of course, the Library of Congress is doing just fine. When the internet began to develop exponentially, more and more information was being pushed to the worldwide-web. It is no longer a requirement for individuals to seek out the closet library to look up a definition or the history of the first president of America. Now, with a few clicks, one can find almost any piece of knowledge presented to them on a glowing screen.

For me, this changed the way in which I navigated my academic career. When I was in middle school, I remember spending many hours in the library looking at books for a class presentation or learning how to navigate the pages of a dictionary. Now, I simply go online, and within seconds I have the information I need. This is increasingly important for me as I reach toward my graduate degree. Almost every class paper, or project is expected to be based on scholarly research, and before the internet, those publications were scarce. Unless your institution subscribed to that specific journal, it could be very difficult to get your hands on the information you needed. Now, thanks to internet fueled databases, scholarly journals are more accessible to students and academics across the globe. Thanks to databases, such as EbscoHost, I can simply type in key terms, and thousands of articles appear before my eyes. This does make the acquisition of information easier, but one of the challenges with this, is knowing what information is valuable.

There is so much information available to internet users, that it often becomes hard to know what to believe and what is alluding the facts. We talked a bit about this within our class discussion on Wikipedia, but media literacy is a growing issue around the world. As information becomes more accessible, and members of society are entitled to share their opinion in such a public space, it can create informational conflicts. There is a growing concern about the abilities of individuals to decipher whether or not a particular piece of information is credible and reliable. Thinking back to my pre-college years in the educational system, I do not remember a time in which I was taught how to navigate the sea of information available on the web. Hopefully as we move toward an even more technological integrated society, these challenges are solved.

The internet provides an endless sea of possibilities for developers to create and implement programs and applications that change the way in which we live our daily lives. It is now possible for an individual to stay at home and receive all the necessary things they need by utilizing the internet. Regardless of how individuals feel about the internet, it is here to stay, and we must adapt to use it ethically and responsibly. For me, the internet changed my life by allowing me to communicate and interact with friends and family across the world and create a system in which I can find and utilize information that would otherwise be unobtainable to me. Innovators are becoming more and more creative in the ways in which they use the functionalities of the internet, and in ten years, I am sure I will have many new ways to interact with my brother and find important information.



Library of Congress (2018). About the library: fascinating facts. Retrieved from


Pew Research Center (2018). Internet/broadband fact sheet. Retrieved from