How has the internet changed the world?

I was thinking about what I wrote here, and how message boards have become a major source of entertainment and companionship for people.

And then I read a statistic that in 1 out of 8 marriages, the couple met online.

It got me to thinking about how amazingly different life is in 2010, compared to pre-internet days. Could anyone have every imagined all this? Certainly, I doubt anyone could have imagined all the effects it would have.

Just for me, the internet pretty much made it possible for me to hold down my last job for quite a long time. I literally had no coworkers, so boards like the Straight Dope and Mellophant gave me someone to talk to around the watercooler, in a manner of speaking.

Facebook has kept me in touch with friends who otherwise I probably wouldn't hear from much. On the other hand, I think it killed my 25th high school reunion. There was a very bad turnout, and it makes sense when you think about it...anyone who cares about seeing people from HS is already in touch with them on FB.

On a less personal level, I've heard that ebay has really killed the collectables market. Not that people don't collect anymore, but it's so easy to find pieces on ebay that it's killed the rare factor, and the prices of a lot of them has collapsed.

Those are a few I can think of off the top of my head. Does anyone else have any examples of how the internet has changed us and the way we live?


Well, we can now easily share stories about dick sculptures:

People used to play Diplomacy and chess by mail. Like, snail mail. I find this incomprehensible.

Also, trolling in person has the unfortunate risk of being punched in the face.

Seriously though, the combination of instantaneous and anonymous communications have led to, well, an intensification of personality traits. If you are anorexic, you can find both support groups and sites celebrating the condition in abundance. Any thought you have, any weird or quirky emotion or desire, has its presence on the web. The effect this has on individuals and societies is something academics could debate endlessly.

Nutcases can find other nutcases with dangerous ideas and band together easier than ever.

Bileous, hurtful commentary that would have pre-internet only existed on the back of public toilet doors is a mainstay of the Internet.

Hysteria can circle the globe quicker than ever.

I can order pizza without even picking up the phone.

I had no idea how important the web was to my life until I found myself almost speechless with irritation when a store I wanted info didn't have a webpage.