Have you ever reflected upon how much the world has changed in the last 30 years? We have had the Turn of the Century and the Turn of the Millennium both concurrently in that period. If we reflect upon it a bit more, we will notice the many unthinkable, ground-breaking, and profound changes that took place.
In 1987, we were just a few years away from the advent of what is commonly referred to as the internet; AKA the Modern Internet. Therefore, the interconnectivity that we enjoy today was completely non-existent. If you wanted to know how someone was doing, you either asked friends, family, or called them on the telephone. That is, if they had a telephone line/landline available at home or at work. You also had the option of writing a letter, but the response could possibly take from a few days to a few months. Now, if you want to know how someone is doing, you can either text, go on their Facebook profile, email them, call, or possibly look them up on google. Wow! Thirty years brought a lot of changes in the way we communicate!
Now, the internet is widely available! According to the U.S. Census, 83.8% of U.S. households had access to the internet in 2013. I can’t really compare this to thirty years ago, but I can talk about some of the evolution of internet availability throughout the years. The internet, AKA the Modern Internet, became more widely used in the mid-1990s. Although computers had been around for a while, their usage increased with the usage of the internet. I actually remember the first time I searched online, which was in 1997. This is before google! I felt so privileged to be using the internet at my school’s library at that time. Now, if the library doesn’t have internet access, we would find it so weird; yet, in the mid-1990s, most libraries had no internet access. If there was no internet access at our UCM library, we would flock from the library to Starbucks or another place that has internet access.
Continuing with internet availability, my mom didn’t get internet until early 2001. It was Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), which transmits digital information using telephone landlines. DSL made you search for an available landline in order to access the internet. If you weren’t careful, your phone bill could be a couple hundred dollars, because some of the lines that you could potentially dial up were considered long distance numbers; essentially, telephone numbers that began with a different area code from your number’s area code. Additionally, you could not receive or make calls from the landline while the internet was being used. I’m glad there is Wi-Fi now!
The smartphone has replaced so many devices that were necessary to have thirty years ago. Who has a radio nowadays? Not a lot of people since we either have a smartphone or tablet to listen to music. Furthermore, we don’t listen to radio programs on the radio, but we download and listen to podcasts on our smart phones. Who has an alarm clock? Nowadays, most people set their alarm on their phones or tablets. Whatever happened to fax machines? No, no, no, I can email them from my smartphone, tablet, and/or computer! I should mention that the advent of the Modern Internet also helped push along the displacement of these devices.
I remain hopeful for the next thirty years, because if there was so much positive change then I think that the next thirty years will bring us more positive change!
Photo Credit: Leonel Orozco