The Internet Age

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THE INTERNET HAS NOT ONLY PROVED THE MIGHT OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY, BUT HAS ALSO USHERED IN A REVOLUTION OF SORTS. A REVOLUTION IN THE WAY NEWS AND INFORMATION WAS DISSEMINATED, REVOLUTIONS IN WAY IDEAS WERE SHARED AND A REVOLUTION IN THE WAY PEOPLE CONNECTED. TWO DECADES SINCE ITS INCEPTION, THIS ENTITY HAS GROWN AN UNFATHOMABLE AMOUNT. IN CELEBRATORY SPIRIT, YOUTH INC PAYS ODE TO ONE OF THE GREATEST INVENTIONS OF THE 20TH CENTURY

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The birth of the internet is similar to the genesis of Adam and Eve. The internet would not exist without the web in the same manner Eve would not exist without Adam. It was created by a grand old man, Tim Berners-Lee in the similar fashion man and woman were created by the almighty. But the time taken to create it, definitely not seven days. Tim Berners-Lee, a scientist at CERN began conducting research on his project the World Wide Web in the 1980s. Launched for the basic purpose of information sharing across different locations amongst scientists, this project took flight after a potential was scene in its development. After much effort, in 1989 Berners-Lee successfully launched the World Wide Web. On this platform that was now ready to be used, the CERN scientist established a website – the very first of its kind in the world. Bearing information about project W3 aka the World Wide Web, the site can still be accessed in its original HTML-rich form.
From its very first site to this day, the internet has seen tremendous change. We have laughed at memes, worshiped animals (read cats), witnessed countries squabble for dominance over the other, seen the lines between public and private lives blur, shopped to our hearts’ content, and a notable mention, saved thousands on free music, movies and  art. What would we do without you, dear dear internet? The Internet Age celebrates the power and might of the internet as one of mankind’s greatest inventions. From being termed as an information highway, to its role as an entertainer, through this cover story we celebrate the internet’s majestic journey so far.

Giulia Forsythe, Flickr

INFORMATION SUPERHIGHWAY

The internet has much to its credit; out of the many roles that it takes on, one of them is that of the provider of news and information. Here is a closer look at what constitutes this information superhighway

Al Gore, the Vice President of the US from 1993 to 2001 first dubbed the internet as being an ‘information superhighway’. He stated that this body will allow information sharing and connection and communication as a global community. This is exactly what the internet has come to be decades later. A constant source of information, perpetrator of thought and trendsetter, the internet is for so many the sole source of information.

IMPARTER OF KNOWLEDGE
Wikipedia.com, Answers.com, Encyclopedia.com, Britannica.com, Howstuffworks.com and many more such sources of information get millions of hits daily. All kinds of information however complex or simple can be found with the simple click of a button. This open source of information is so convenient and hassle-free that most people today prefer it as opposed physically visiting libraries to conduct research. It is because of sites like these that several libraries have been forced to shut shop and go online.

THE WHISTLEBLOWER
WikiLeaks, an online non-profit website is notorious for its work in bringing to the view of the general public and the media secrets of governments across the world, the internal happenings of wars, corruption and several political secrets. The secrets dispelled by Julian Assange, the creator of WikiLeaks have led to revolutions of sorts in different countries across the world. WikiLeaks believes in using the freedom of the press through the internet to share with the public important news and information.

THE EDUCATOR
Thanks to the internet, education is no longer limited to just the classroom. The internet has not only made studying easy, but it has also made it so much more accessible. Massive Online Open Courses and distance education programmes offered by some of the most prestigious global universities can today be taken full advantage of irrespective of geographical location, further proving the point – the internet is an information superhighway of sorts.

THE NEWS MACHINE
One of the easiest ways to tell what’s going on across the globe is the internet. This does not only translate to news, but any kind of information needed. The power of the internet to divulge information happening in any part of the world within seconds has seen that much of a boon that it has subsequently led to the dwindling of newspaper and magazine subscribers. Physical news media houses have therefore begun investing in the online space, thus catapulting the idea of the internet as an information expressway.

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SOCIAL NETWORKING OF A DIFFERENT KIND

It might come as a surprise, but the internet plays a vital role in shaping and defining the opinion of its users.

Social networking websites like 4chan, Reddit, Branch, Zammrs, Quora, etc although not as popular as Facebook and Twitter, have been creating quite a few waves in the way ideas, concepts and thoughts have come to be shared. Not only have these sites become platforms through which its users share information, but it also propagates thought and public opinion. Often described as a more meaningful place of hangout, these websites encourage interaction with people outside of accquaintances, peer groups and family. This often exposes a person to thought and idea that a person was not witness to up until now.

SHARING INFORMATION
4chan, Reddit, Branch, Quora, etc are social networking sites, but they function in a different fashion. For the most part, these sites can hardly be compared to Facebook and Twitter. It is on these sites that users can pen down anything that’s on their mind. The topics of discussion can range from entertainment to news, education to fashion and anything under the sun. The user can then choose to discuss these topics with anyone active or online on the site. This way a simple thought is shared and discussed acorss a wide variety of poeple half of whom probably don’t even share the same country of city of residence. Some rebut, some agree and some others share tidbits of information that was up until then unheard of. Users are not limited to a selected set of ‘friends or followers’ but are free to converse with anyone, anywhere in the world. If Facebook is considered ‘traditional’ social networking, this is anything but that.

INTELLECTS VS THE PSEUDO INTELLECTS
These public opinion platforms have often been described as a place where the intellectual kind of the internet thrive. This is true because discussions encompass so much more than just sharing, liking, retweeting and commenting on posts. A mere thought, piece of news or information leads to elaborate discussions, most of which come to influence its readers. In a way, Reddit, 4chan, Zammrs, Quora and the likes are much more sophisticated from its cousins Facebook, Twitter and MySpace.

A NEW WAY OF INTERACTION
Reddit and Branch conduct chat sessions with celebrities and bigwigs from different industries across the world. These interactions allow laymen to get to know famous faces better. But why are these platforms chosen? One of the reasons is because of their decentralised structure – a user is free to create everything from his own content, his own rules for mass particpiation and even his community or audience. The freedom offered here is unmatched.

OTA photos, flickr

INVESTING IN IDEAS

Crowdfunding is helping thousands of people turn their dreams into something concrete; all possible only because of the internet

Crowdfunding, a concept that has been gaining momentum over the last few years has the internet to be thankful for for its existence. Crowdfunding uses the tentacles of the internet to raise money to fund everything from business ideas, education, social causes and the like. Since this concept went live, it has become an incredibly popular, and is a widely used medium of raising money.

HOW DOES CROWDFUNDING WORK?
As the name suggests, crowdfunding is collection of money from the public or ‘crowds’. The intention of crowdfunding is usually for a noble cause, meaning a person who invests in crowdfunding does so without any intention of gaining anything in the process. A contributor therefore believes in the success of an idea and hence deems it fit to make a monetary investment. The money, however, does not come from just one person but from multiple people online. Crowdfunding has funded movies, inventions, campaigns and even travel.

THE INTERNET AND CROWDFUNDING
Without the internet, crowdfunding would hardly be possible. Imagine sharing an idea with as many people as you know in the hope that they believe in it and contribute to its development. The chances of that idea actually seeing the light of day are slim. The simple reason, the number of people you know in reality is nothing in comparison to those you will encounter online. With the help of the internet a person can get his idea out to as many people as he wants with the help of social media, friends of friends of friends, and of course, newly launched crowdfunding platforms.

CROWDFUNDING’S SUCCESS STORIES
Using crowdfunding to fund a business or an idea doesn’t always guarantee success. Along with the usage of one of the most powerful marketing tools, the internet, there are a number of other details that have to be perfected in order to witness success.
While there have been fails, there have also been several success stories. Some of them are:
Visit to the happiest place on earth
Savanah, a mother detected with stage four cancer wanted to take her daughter to Disney World but didn’t have the money for it. Her dream to take her daughter to Disney World became successful after her campaign was completely crowdfunded by netizens.
Aam Admi Party’s money
The Aam Admi Party collected Rs. 20 crores in the span of nine months from over 80, 000 people not only in India but also overseas through crowdfunding. The money was used to fund the party’s participation on the Lok Sabha elections earlier this year.

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THE INTERNET, THE PERPETUAL ENTERTAINER

Buzzfeed, YouTube, 9Gag – how can you ever be bored when on the internet?

You’ve been working continuously for the last few hours so you decide to take a break and log in to Buzzfeed. It’s been one hour and you still can’t seem to log out. Don’t pretend like this has never happened to you, because it definitely has! That’s exactly how entertaining the internet is. With so much fodder for your idle mind, it is the best way to take a break from work and studies.

THANK GOD FOR INTERNET LISTS
You want to read to distract yourself, but nothing too complex and lengthy. The internet has just the right thing for you – lists. If you’re are clueless about these quick, snappy, breezy reads, it’s time for some exploration. Internet lists cover topics that include things as bizarre as ‘21 ways to swear using emojis’ to ‘Brain facts your brain doesn’t know about’, you can find anything to entertain you. What makes these lists so much fun? Their bizarre nature, the fact that they have very little to read (works for those who dislike reading, 80% of netizens), and big, blown- up images of course. What would we do without these indispensible sources of information, just what?

VIRAL FEVER
Sure you enjoy listening to songs and watching videos online, but what about comedy videos, beauty tutorials, vines, kids talking gibberish, cats going insane over wool balls and live shows you might have missed? There is the internet for that. Videos are for those who wish to only use two of their six senses, their sense of sound and sight. Hours can be spent just jumping from one video to the next; before you know it you’ve blown up the better part of your day just being entertained and that too for free!

THE MEME GENERATION
This is one of the best parts of the internet – memes and trolls. It is practically impossible not be entertained by the randomness of the Doge Meme or the desperation of the ‘Y U no?’ face or Grumpy cat’s perpetually annoyed face. As bizarre as they might be, they are ridiculously funny. Not that we are complaining, but everything that becomes a trend automatically finds its way to becoming a meme – Alia Bhatt after her Koffee with Karan debacle, Ryan Gosling after the birth of his baby, Miley Cyrus after her Wrecking Ball video, etc. The best part of memes and trolls – you can create them yourself as well. Meme generators allow you to create your own funny meme, maybe about a friend, a relative or a colleague even.

APPLICATIONS GALORE
Need we mention the convenience of using applications all of which would hardly be possible without the internet and yes, free Wi-Fi.

Obsessed teenager girl with the mobile phone technology

BUT FIRST, LET ME TAKE A SELFIE

A team from Chicago University’s Booth Business School recently conducted a story that confirmed the urge to check emails, log in to social media like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol. Smokers and drinkers, this means you are safe

Addiction of any kind is detrimental to an individual. It threatens relations, professional life and also the mental well-being of person. It gets worse when you know you have a problem, but can’t do much about it except to submit to this unhealthy obsession.

I HAVE MORE FACEBOOK FRIENDS THAN YOU
2000 Facebook friends, 500-odd likes on each profile picture, 100 retweets, 4000 Instagram hearts define popularity today. The need to feel accepted goes to the extent of people actually asking their friends to like and comment on something they have posted. This is no joke; it is exactly what the world has come to all thanks to social media.

K, YEW, LUV, BAE, Y, LOL, OMG
Wordsmiths and grammar Nazis across the world have been fighting relentlessly for the justice of the English language, but are failing. The Oxford English Dictionary recently added internet slangs like OMG, LOL, IMHO and several other abbreviations to their dictionary. Failing and how! It’s okay to use internet slang when on the internet but when you LOL in real life, there is a problem.

VACATION SELFIE, WORK SELFIE, SCHOOL SELFIE
Social media has taken this trend to absolute extremes. Facebook made sharing every moment trendy, Instagram made selfie the word of the year in 2013 and Snapchat exalted this trend to dangerous levels of narcissism. Taking selfies comes from an individual’s desire to be socially accepted. While it is human tendency to be accepted in social groups, falling prey to extreme levels of digital selfobsession where there is a constant need to upload images for likes is unhealthy.

IT’S OKAY TO BE ‘SOCIAL’
In spite of its many pitfalls, social media is a boon. It brings the world closer, connects people across continents and propagates the sharing of ideas and thought. Irrespective of the number of social media sites a person is logged in to, moderation in usage is key. So the next time you have the urge to upload a selfie, ask yourself if it is really that important to the point where it will change your life. You’ll have your answer.

Tell-tale signs of a social media addict
•You take images of everything – food, your hair, your nails, roads, etc
•You like your own images, posts and statuses
•You check-in into your home when you are at home
•You use LOL, OMG, TTYL in every conversations You do this, #lol #goodmorning #me #likesforlikes #girl #boy

Anonymous Account, Flickr

THE WEB OF DARKNESS

Even the most beautiful of things have flaws. The internet is one among them.

Taking on one too many roles, entertainer, guru and a source of information and news, the internet is a marvel in itself. A project that was launched around 23 years ago, it is today an indispensible part of everyone’s lives. Can you possibly imagine what the world would be without the internet? There is no doubt about the surmountable potential of the internet and the role that it plays in the lives of its users. But are we looking at the internet through rose-tinted glasses? Like the yin and the yang, the internet has its dark side too. One that remains unseen and unheard to a majority of its billions of users across the world.

INFORMATION,INFORMATION,INFORMATION
For most of its users, the internet has become the primary source of information. Gone are the days of visiting libraries to research or gather information. It is even safe to say that the internet is the sole reason why several physical libraries across the world have been forced to go online. The joy of sitting in a room full of books is unparalled, but with a generation that has access to the world with the touch of a single button, there is hardly a way around it. This brings us the question of accuracy. While there is plenty of information available on the internet, not all of it is accurate. Which is why everything on the internet has to be viewed with an ounce of scepticism. Relying too much on one source of information is often does more harm than good. Yes, the internet has a little too much information to offer, but it can often be wrong as well. However, wrong information is just aspect in this situation, there is also the problem of infomration being baised and misleading. This is often the case in politics. Advocates of certain philosphies make proclamations that convince naive minds to the point where they are completely brainwashed. The information on the internet therefore often doesn’t faciliate independent thought.

SHARING IS WHAT MAKES THE INTERNET
Piracy and copyright issues are two of the biggest problems that plague the internet and its people today. Several efforts have been made by governments of countries and bodies that function for the purpose of the internet to salvage theft of content freely available, but it still remains one of those issues that are very hard to tackle. The music, film and art industry are some of the many industries that face tremendous issues when it comes to theft of intellectual property. While some argue that sharing, for example, music or movies without paying a fee for them is wrong, there are those who believe that sharing or downloading of this content is what the internet is all about.

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CRIME ON THE INTERNET
Hacking, credit card account thefts, propagating hate, stalking, etc encompass cybercrime. Cyber criminals target individuals, multinational institutions, websites and even governments. A heinous crime that more often than not leads to detrimental effects, cybercrime is not easy to tackle. Cyber criminals lurk through malwares, viruses and denial-of- service attacks. The problem with this kind of crime is that its perpretators are not easy to pin down. In spite of tremendous efforts made by governments and international internet governing bodies, catching a cyber criminal is no easy feat. Since it requires a good amount of knowledge of the working of computers and the internal functioning of software, culprits commit a crime and cover up their footprints with ease. The battle to banish cybercrime is therefore not an easy one to win.

INTERNET ADDICTION DISORDER
Whoever thought internet addiction was a real thing? Sure, the internet satisfies a user’s every need, but how could that be a bad thing? Different people use the internet differently. Some might use it daily, whereas many others might use as often as one in two or three days to check their email or to log into their social media accounts. The problem is when there is a need to constantly social network, compulsively use pornographic websites and adult chat rooms, indulge in online gambling and betting and completely ignoring your social life to make way for your online one. If you’re still not convinced about the seriousness of this thing called internet addiction, this will convince you. To deal with internet addicts, there are several groups and counselling centres that help people get over ‘Internet Addiction Disorder’.

THE NAME GAME
Identify theft and identity frauds refer to the stealing of individuals’ names and proof of identities for illicit practices. Along with financial i.e. credit card related crimes, identity theft also takes the shape of paedophilia, insurance related crimes, assuming another person’s identity etc. Popular techniques used for identity theft is rummaging through rubbish to find personal details of individuals, compulsive browsing through social networking sites, hacking into online databases of documentations of banks, colleges, etc.

USE WISELY
Irrespective of the many negatives of the internet, its usage is hardly curbed or restricted. For example is there an age beyond which a child must be allowed to use the internet? Should a child be given access to view every site that exists? There are restirctions to discourage viewing of certain webistes, but they rely more on computer as opposed to internet tchnicalities. For example, pornographic sites have no kind of barrier for age limit. Anyone is allowed access to these sites. It is therefore safe to say that the internet although an advantage has brought with it a couple of disadvantages as well.

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THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT THE INTERNET

Thought you knew everything there is to the internet? Think again

THE INTERNET AND ITS CARBON FOOTPRINT
Believe it or not, the internet is responsible for the emission of 300 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. This number, however, is an estimate as it is practically impossible to predict the number of devices in companies and houses that use the internet and consequently, energy consumed to use it.

 

BEFORE GOOGLE
It took a while before Google received its cult status. Archie, a tool allowing people to search for files is considered to be the first search engine ever. Of course, there were a number of others that followed suit, but none of them could match the efficiency and the user-friendly interface of Google.

IS THE INTERNET THE WEB OR THE WEB THE INTERNET?
Answer: None.
For starters, the internet and the web are two completely different entities. The difference between the two you may ask? The internet connects your computer to other computers across the world as a way of sharing and using content. Whereas, the web is the platform that lets you use the content available on the internet.

INTERNET, THE BEST MATCHMAKER
A recent study revealed that around 19% of the world’s population have met their significant others through the internet. No, not friends, relatives or family members – but the internet has played matchmaker for thousands of couples across the globe.

THE FIRST WEBSITE IS STILL ALIVE
The first website created in 1991 is still alive and kicking almost 23 years after it was first launched. The website is a simple document explaining what the World Wide Web is. How apt we say, how apt.

THE INTERNET AND ITS USERS
China has the maximum number of internet users in the world, around 642 million users. This number is greater than users in three countries, USA, India and Japan combined.

LESS WORK, MORE DISTRACTIONS
A recent study analysed that most people who use the internet use it less for work and more to satisfy distractions as a result of it, surfing sites like Yahoo News, Facebook, Twitter and the universal source of everything entertaining, Buzzfeed. Several employers have come to understand this and have thus blocked a number of sites. Note: Blocking a website is inversely related to productivity.

 

Volume 4 Issue 4