Initially, I took an immediate dislike to the Internet. Like many people brought up on a diet of pens, pencils and typewriters, I was suspicious of what I probably regarded as another trend. Then, in 1998, someone told me they might have a spare typewriter I could have, but the typewriter never materialised, so a friend lent me her word processor.
Imagine the excitement and fascination…I could already touch type, but the machine in front of me offered a lot more. It allowed me to save work to a disk and copy/move sections of writing, and it also checked for spelling errors. And there were plenty of those at first. As I writer, I believed that I’d found the most valuable tool for writing.
At around the same time, one of my friends bought his first computer and we often had friendly arguments about which was better – a PC or a standard word processor? To cut a very long story short, my friend created a Hotmail account for me that I still use today for email and storing documents, although I couldn’t see any point of having the account at first. Within a few months, however, I’d brought my own computer and gone on an IT course. I’ve never looked back. Over the coming years, I studied HTML and CSS and learnt how to design basic websites. I even enjoy reading books on Troubleshooting!
I still, of course, value life away from the computer. Equally, I can’t imagine life without the computer or the Internet. So why do I like the Internet so much?
- People with access to the Internet (they don’t even need to have a connection at home) can publish almost anything on the Web, usually for free. Photographs. Pieces of music. Books and articles. Magazines. Digital radio shows. Films. And a lot more.
- People can download fully functioning programs (Open Source) for free, including website builders, word processing facilities, spreadsheets, digital photography and sound editing. A few years ago, these programs would have cost a lot of money.
- The average citizen can start a blog and engage in journalism.
- Elderly people have an opportunity to record their memoirs for future generations. (I particularly like this.)
- Artists, musicians and writers can showcase their work for free.
- People can track down old friends and keep up with present friends without needing to go out and buy stamps.
- Web 2.0 sites enable the average person to create the media content of their own choice. The Internet revolution of the last few years is, quite literally, a revolution.
Just a few of my reasons.