The internet is something that you can connect to from your office, home or mobile. In fact it is estimated that within the UK the average household owns 7.4 internet devices – quite some feat when the joys of dial-up internet were only integrated in to the public domain around 20 years ago. But what is it actually – what does it mean to you?
We treat the internet as something that we just expect to be there. If you are travelling on the train and reach an area that just about has GPRS, let alone 3G, there is that panic of being disconnected and not being able to update your news app or let your Twitter followers know what you’re having for lunch. Without an internet connection many of us are left counting down the minutes until we can once again be connected.
In this modern age we are connected with people across the globe through an interconnection of networks, more commonly known as – you guessed it- the internet. With it we are able to achieve great things and communicate with people we otherwise may never have known. In fact, the internet, particularly superfast business internet, is so reliable now that we can have real-time video conferences with colleagues on the other side of the world – now that is impressive. So it is not surprising that when we are without it we feel a little lost.
Work vs. Play
This reliance on connectivity is often across multiple platforms and devices too; most frequently a personal and business phone. Having both of these devices ensures that there is a succinct difference in the intention of use for each, but really if you have one internet connected smartphone – do you really need another for business contacts and email? They are easy enough to combine from a technology point of view, but often this divide is caused by personal opinion.
With the increasing presence of the internet in both our professional and personal lives it is becoming harder to divide the two. Managing Directors are able to check their emails constantly and reply to any questions, whether it is 6am or 10pm, and those working in Digital Marketing will receive notifications whenever there is activity on their company’s Twitter account – meaning there really is no such thing as “home time” anymore.
But is this truly an issue? Does the fact that we are able to work around the clock actually provide us much more freedom in how we work and complete tasks? The increase in flexible working policies across various industries clearly shows that people no longer want, or more commonly need, to work the standard 9-5 hours from an office in the City. The internet has enabled them to be flexible, whilst remaining connected and productive.
The internet is an enabler in both a personal and professional capacity, and because of this the two are merging more and more.
So, what does the internet mean to you? Because whatever it means right now, it might just change in a years’ time…