We’re all guilty of spending countless hours surfing the internet at dangerously high speeds. And who can blame us? There’s a multitude of interesting websites and viral videos, not to mention email and instant messaging.
With the amazing amount of things you can do on the Internet these days, a mild-mannered college student like myself can turn into a super-woman of efficiency without even leaving my home. This second world is quickly becoming an intangible copy of our real world, with the conveniences of grocery stores, movies, shopping, communication and even dating. Given all its advantages, can this new world replace our old one?
Big stores like Lowe’s Food and Sam’s Club offer the web-savvy woman the option of doing her shopping online and having it delivered to her house with just the click of a mouse. Campusfood.com is a popular website for college students that allows them to order food from local restaurants and have it delivered to their college residences. While online food shopping offers much more convenience, I doubt it will ever replace outings with your girlfriends or those random grocery shopping days.
Online shopping is blast, especially for someone who’s looking for a good deal. Searching different sites for a good price on a pair of 4-inch bright yellow pumps definitely doesn’t require the same energy needed to check every store in your local mall. My favorite part about online shopping is the ability to shop from my favorite stores online. Once I know the styles and sizes I like at Victoria’s Secret, Ann Taylor Loft and Macy’s, shopping online at there fabulous websites is no problem.
And clothes aren’t the finish line of online shopping. You can easily decorate a new apartment with furniture and accessories from stores like IKEA and Target with their easy-to-navigate websites.
An obvious downside to cybershopping is that you don’t always know exactly what you’re ordering. While ordering from big name websites may be safe, our EBay-centric society often lead us to ordering fakes, frauds and even stolen merchandise when purchasing from not-so-authentic sources.
Online News and Entertainment
For every news channel that I could possibly watch, there is almost always a decked out website where you can not only read the news, but watch videos as well. Busy college students often don’t have time to watch the regularly scheduled daily news with their busy lives of classes, work and extracurriculars, so being able to check news online at anytime appeals to our generation. And with the invention of RSS feeds, staying up to date on news is no problem.
One big name online is Youtube.com. The site’s entertaining viral videos are amazingly contagious and easily transmitted from person to person, but sometimes you can waste hours online watching videos and accomplish nothing–and often uncover some really disturbing ones.
A fairly recent trend in online entertainment is SecondLife.com, the online digital world where you can do just about everything you can do in this one–including spend money. Users can buy “Linden” dollars to purchase everything from products created by other users to real estate. Interestingly enough, Second Life offers the opportunity for making money also, with a supply of over two billion Linden dollars being used, which translates to a lot of real dollars changing hands.
Cyber Communication and Networks
Most of us are pretty familiar with at least one aspect of online communication, whether it be instant messaging, MySpace.com, or Facebook.com. And while many college students use these types of websites as a place to keep in touch with old friends, many use them to find new friends and possible love interests. Enter websites like Match.com or eHarmony.com that make meeting people a lot easier. And while these sites seem to offer the convenience and efficiency of “meeting” a lot of people, the anonymity of online dating and networking often causes problems, including very serious safety issues.
There’s so much more to be explored when it comes to this developing online world. And while college students seem to be the cause and target market when most real world entities go digital, there’s no doubt in my mind that this will not replace our current world. The internet is a digital tool of convenience and efficiency that we use so we can have more free time in our reality.