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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

How "Online" Has Chaned Lives

Over the past 10 years the Internet has taken hold and more of what we do has moved online. While the following is by no means a complete list it's meant to show a sampling of activities and tasks that were 10 or so years ago done primarily offline.

Banking
Online banking was around 10 years ago but it was no where near as common as it is today. You wopuld be hard pressed to find a bank that doesn't offer online banking options. I don't know about you but the last time I was in an actual bank is when I opened my account. I have not mailed a check in years...I like many others pay all my bills online via my bank. Learn more about online banking here.

Music
When's the last time you bought an actual CD? I think the last CD I purchased would have been around 1999/2000. I finished ripping all my CD'd to mp3's years ago and don't even have a CD player in my house. As much as I despise it, Itunes changed the way people buy music. Some even say that now is the time for major retailers such as Best Buy to get out of the CD business all together. Can't say I would disagree.

Shopping
I have not set foot in a mall in almost 10 years. I buy all gifts online and have even purchased some of my cloths online. I use to visit bookstores a few times a month...it's been years since I've been in one. I will either download an ebook or order books for delivery to my house. And yes, I've even ordered groceries online a few times.

Research
I remember going to the library when I need to do some research on a topic or subject. Yes, an actual building filled with real books. It's going on almost 15 years since I set foot in a library...I don't even know if I could find what I was looking for in a library if I tried. I recall some sort of card system for finding books...

Education
When I was in school you had to actually go to class. There was no such thing as an online education. If you wanted a degree you had to physically go a school, sit in a classroom (with actual books!) and do all of your assignments on paper. Other people were physically there too, including a teacher. I took some classes online 3 years ago and never had to leave my couch, not even for the tests. That's my kind of learning.

News
Remember that thing called a newspaper? It use to that most people got their news from a newspaper. It was made of real paper and believe it or not someone would actually bring it you your house every day. Heck, we even paid to get it! By the time you were done checking out the news you had ink all over your hands and there wasn't even a way to leave a comment. Right around the time Google News came around I dropped the paper. Now with Google Reader + my favorite RSS feeds reading a paper would feel like taking a trip to a museum.

Video Games
10 years or so ago online multiplayer games were rare. Broadband had not yet taken hold in residences so most multiplayer game were vs computer players or done on a LAN. Trying to do anything online on a dial up modem was, well, painful.


Directions and Maps
I actually use to carry maps (on paper!) in my car. If I was going on a trip I sat down before leaving, looked at the map and wrote our directions. If I was visiting someone for the first time I might even have called them to get directions. Services like Mapquest and Google maps have all but elimiated the need for paper maps. Like almost everyone else I get all my directions / maps on my computer or when I'm in the car on my phone. 100 to 1 says my kids (all under 3 at this point) will never own a paper map of any kind in their lifetime.

As I mentioned earlier that's just a short list of things in my life that have moved almost 100 online over the past 10 years. How about you? What activities in your life have moved online?