An Internet Perspective Essay, Research Paper
A man and computer scientist Robert Taylor had developed a new system of communication that would change the world. Taylor would connect two separate computers that were capable of communicating small bits of information between one another. This was only intended to send simple text messages and numbers using an analog signal, but would prove to be a bigger help than originally imagined. Consequently, this basic networking of computers would soon develop into something much bigger and more vast than what had originally been envisioned. The Internet has become a fast and efficient way of connecting people of all cultures and locals. This in turn has given rise to an entirely unique from of business practice and consumer buying power. Social interactions between all types of peoples from around the world have also become more wide spread. The Internet has become a hotbed of business activity, a virtual shopping mall, a social paradise, and a culture all wrapped up in a neat little package. Despite these advantages, this synthetic global connection with its massive networking of computers has drawbacks, such as an avoidance of direct social contact and alienation. The power to access both the business and social world from the average user’s home hinders the desire to connect with the outside physical world.
The Internet serves many purposes, but has specifically altered the standard economic practices of businesses previously dependant on direct social contact in attracting and maintaining a healthy clientele. For instance, the use of email to communicate messages and send file attachments is a system that has eliminated much of the legwork involved in exchanging information pertinent to the needs of that particular customer. Inversely, this decreases the need for added employees, eliminating the costs of having to hire personnel to do such work, and has made customer interactions both faster and more efficient. Furthermore, the net is also used as an on-line trading tool between companies, customer web sites, company purchases, and various other integrated uses. These kinds of applications serve the company and customer in a fashion that allows more compatibility, speed, and convenience for both sides.
The Internet’s speed and efficiency can be a great asset to a business as well as its consumers, but is subject to such intrusions as hacking for the purpose of industrial espionage; which can easily result in stolen marketing and product ideas. This can greatly effect a business if such attempts are successful. As a result, other problems such as system crashes can incapacitate a business for an inordinate amount of time, where shipping and purchasing would cease as a result.
From the perspective of the consumer, this new form of business has spawned a new form of convenience and accessibility. The ability to access goods and services through the computer increases consumer base. Consumers who were previously unable to purchase goods on their own now have the power to purchase such products from their personal computer. With a search engine and the knowledge of what a person is looking for, an unlimited array of businesses will include a virtual catalog of what their company has to offer to the customer. As a result, the customer has the power to choose whatever he or she desires without the inconvenience of leaving their own home. People can browse for hours without the time and effort involved in going from store to store to find just the right product. The elimination of price markups to pay employees and showcase merchandise is also appealing to the consumer.
Despite the ease and accessibility such a system of acquiring goods and services would have, there are some drawbacks. First and foremost, the customer is divorced from the physical aspect of selecting their product. They must rely on photographs and descriptions to select their product, which may turn out not to suit their specific needs and wants. While another issue concerning the purchasing of products on-line are the security risks regarding credit card purchases, which is the main source of buying power for the consumer. This creates hesitation on the part of the consumer for fear of hackers who can intercept credit card numbers while online purchases are being made.
The Internet is not always used for the specific purpose of business relations and customer transactions. The net allows people who would not normally be able to interact with other social groups and cultures to communicate with a wide range of different persons. Chat rooms are the most widespread of all places to find common interest groups that are willing to share information about themselves and their lives. This type of global social interaction is reminiscent to having a pen pal but on a much larger and more efficient scale. Secondly, this type of interaction eliminates the social awkwardness of direct physical contact when meeting new people. Net users can reach out to others while maintaining a comfortable level of personal space.
While this can be a new and exciting tool to meeting other users from around the world, this can also discourage people from using their social skills outside their own home. This comfort of anonymity can be used to falsify information to others. This means that the information received about another person could very well be fabricated. These encounters, whether they are sincere or falsified, can lead to unhealthy infatuations. Such incidences can result in dangerous encounters with individuals who insist on pursuing an uninterested party. These individuals will go to such lengths as obtaining personal information for the purpose of stalking. In cases such as these, the Internet can provide a false sense of security. For those who insist on using the Internet as their primary source of interaction with others, this method of human relations can discourage the avenues of conventional socialization.
Despite all the issues concerning the Internet, it is still becoming an ever-increasing form of communication and will continue to flourish well into the 21st century. Businesses are finding that with the unprecedented rate of growth that the net is currently undergoing, a substantial increase in potential consumers can only serve to increase the profitability of their organizations. The sheer volume of current, as well as future consumers, far outweighs any technical abnormalities that may occur. Such conveniences are also appealing to the customers and encourage them to make their purchases on-line. This convenience overrides any doubts the consumer may have in regards to their purchase. The volume increase of on-line users creates this environment for business growth as well as social interaction; users are able to connect with a wide variety of people and view the Internet as a social garden. Issues of safety and isolation within the home do not seem as relevant as the benefits of cross-global interaction. People who struggle in customary social situations find comfort in this type environment. The Internet is a useful and vestal tool in all of these situations. There will always be problems with a system as large as this, but the advantages are ever increasing.