How does use of the Internet Save Time?

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 Save Time via the Internet

I’ve observed in my life, many times, people who do not use the internet regularly or who do not yet understand more than maybe 1% of the enormous potential of the internet.  I wish to enlighten these people to the, as yet unknown, vast ocean of possibility that is the Internet. The internet has many, many uses and many of these can save a person or group copious amounts of time.

Although I may use the Internet regularly (constantly), I was not born to it.  It was introduced to me when I was in middle school by my Dad.  He had discovered a sliver of the hope that would eventually become the modern day Internet several years before he knew me. And it fascinated him so, that he and several others attempted to give away a version of it in the early 1980’s.  Sadly, it did not take.  No one believed in the concept of “free” services in exchange for advertising; or at least not where his company was selling.

The internet is constant communication.  To put it another way, it is at a bare minimum like having access to a library of the sum of human history and current knowledge, without getting up from your seat.  But that’s not all.  The internet is not merely the ability to access every bit of human knowledge and history, but intercommunication with everyone on the planet that is within reach of a device that is connected to the Internet.

To illustrate how use of the Internet saves time I’ve prepared several examples.

The Time Machine

Storage of information on the internet is so simple that many people do it.  For spreadsheets and word processor documents, the Google Drive service offers innumerable revision histories.  Nearly every modification to a document can be recovered from any time in the past that a change was recorded.  The advantage here is that you need not keep thousands of copies for yourself, but can quite simply find the time and date of that desire revision and use it.

Another example of historical documentation is the Wayback Machine or the Internet Archive.  These websites archive an image of every other website that has ever appeared on the Internet.  They do not have a perfect copy of every change, but in the time that they have to scour the whole of the Internet, they’ve managed a formidable collection.  Some sites can be traced back nearly a quarter-century.  The advantage here is that you can likely find many revisions of sites that do not continue to exist.  This could save considerable time remanufacturing documentation that might have otherwise been considered lost.

Keeping up Appearances

I remember when my mother attended one of the reunions of her high school.  It was in the early part of the new millennia and the advent of Facebook had yet come.  It was not yet easily possible to keep track of all one’s friends and relatives, unless they each maintained a separate website.   Facebook (like MySpace before it) made it possible for everyone to keep track of friends from prior times in life because of the ease of updating statuses.

To collect the sum of all the experiences of the lives of every friend and relative would be an immense undertaking.  It might well be impractical. The advantage of Facebook and sites of it’s kind offers an impressive time savings to the tune that my own High School Class Reunion of 10 years and 15 years did not occur (although they are still planning on having a 20 year).

The Directory

The Yellow Pages made it possible to find nearly every telephone number in the local area.  The Yellow Pages still exist today and on the internet as well.  The ease of finding a phone number via the internet is much more simple than to search through a dictionary-like book.  Whether by name, association, address, or email, the business or individual you seek can be found with in seconds.

However, through the use of services like Mapquest and Google Maps, it is possible to get far more information about an individual or business.  Customer reviews are posted on these sites.  Routing information to help you find what you seek, is included.  The advantage here is that you no longer need to scour a paper map of the local area or have a keen understanding of the surrounding town.

Furthermore navigation systems can be used in vehicles and from mobile phones to give directions and an active map of your vicinity.  The advantage is nearly incalculable compared to the hours of wasted time in asking directions from locals and pouring over maps with which you are unfamiliar.

Textual Communications

It’s is somewhat of a point of contention for people who are non-proficient in typing.  I’ve seen it many times where the barrier to entry is the lack of computer typing skill.   I did not gain my ability to type overnight and I would impressed by anyone who could.  It took me several years in practice to improve my skill to the level that I could type easily without looking at the keys.  Nevertheless it is an important skill in the use of textual communications.

Communication via text no longer mandates that the user be able to type on a keyboard.  It is possible that a user merely speak the text and it is transcribed by a computer. However, the advantage of text communications may be shown best by contrast to voice communication.  Multiple text conversations can be held simultaneously, while realistically only one voice conversation can be held at once.

While voice communication is immediate and disruptive, text is postponable and quiet. All parties involved in text communication have more options.  It is even possible to hold multiple text conversations while in the middle of a voice conversation.   The advantages of text communication offers non-disruptive, yet instantaneous communication.

Mass Media

During my public schooling days, I recall that news and communication were slow to travel 100 years ago.  In some cases news travelled quickly, but if it did, it did so by a person on horseback. More often news travelled very slowly and in some extreme examples, would not reach the intended party for months afterward. Through the use of the internet, news is now instantaneous.

Alas, there is a new factor in how news is conveyed (and can still be incorrect).  The Internet has brought about the revelation of on-the-spot reporting via a service called “Twitter”. Every person who has access to a mobile internet device can now take photos and submit the to Twitter so that those with access to Twitter can see.

An example of the aggregate functionality of Twitter is when a major disaster occurs.  Many people will notice and immediately take to the use of Twitter to report it.  The advantage of the internet in this case is access to events as they happen.  There is nothing yet faster than receiving a universally broadcast report about events as they happen, from one or more sources at the location.

Online Collaboration

As with any technology in the public eye, it must make progress.  The Internet has given us so much and we in turn must give something back.  One of the first tools that came of the Internet was electronic mail (aka email).   However, not everyone wants only to speak or write to another, many of us would like to see the other party.

In the past, prior to the telegraph meetings would occur face to face or in-person.  But it is now possible to send the image and voice of the other parties to each other.   The advantages of these meetings are immense.  There is no need to make elaborate travel plans or to arrange a meeting place.  All parties can meet and greet each other virtually via the Internet from wherever they happen to be.

Conclusion

I cannot begin to consider the amount of time that the internet has saved only me alone. But in consideration of the time savings to everyone, is beyond my thought for calculation.  I would rather think that the time saved is a release of a burden.  When considering time spent during a days’ time and I more productive for the improvement in my time due to the Internet?  I would like to think so.  I for one am grateful for the use of the internet, not merely to save time.

As always, if you have any questions for me, please feel free to contact me via my email account wes@tekhandy.com and be sure to check out the Glossary for the new terms from this and every article.

Have a wonderful week

-Wes

 


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