5 Ways the Internet Improves, Simplifies, and Betters My Life

posted by Andrea | 01/19/2015

5 ways the internet improves my life

Although I’m only 5 months away from my 30th birthday, I’m still young enough that I’ve never really known life without a computer or the internet. Even as a very young child I can remember using floppy disks to play simple games on our green and black screen (on the card table in the corner of our living room). We had typing classes in 1st grade already, and I got my first email address in middle school.

Computers and the internet have obviously come a LONG way since then — and while I’m definitely not fully up-to-date with the latest and greatest technology, I do think I know enough to have a pretty strong opinion about the internet.

So often, I feel like we only hear the bad and scary internet related stories and statistics — crazy people hacking into government websites, cyber bullies, money scams, email hacking, pedophiles, etc. And while I certainly don’t want to brush those situations under the rug or pretend like they are not a big deal, I also think we might dwell on those negative stories a little too much and overlook the hundreds and thousands of untold positive stories.

I think using the internet is kind of like flying in an airplane. There is a very small percentage of people who are afraid to use the internet (or fly in an airplane) because they only hear the bad stories (a.k.a. plane crashes) on the news. But just think if the news (or social media) reported on every single positive thing that came about because of the internet — or every single plane that landed with no complications. Yes, that sounds ridiculous, because it is! It would be impossible to report all of that!

I personally feel like the internet is one of the most valuable tools I use on a daily basis — not only because it allows me to make a full-time income from home, but also because it has helped me become a better cook, a better housekeeper, a better wife, a better mother, a better friend, a better business owner, and over-all, a more knowledgeable person.

I know, it might seem a little over-the-top, but I’m serious! Let me share why…

1. The internet offers less formal communication.

Email is probably one of my most favorite things about the internet — because I really don’t like talking on the phone or texting.

I’ve never been a huge phone talker; and after screaming children entered my life, you will almost never catch me on the phone unless it’s something last-minute or to call someone (like my grandma) who doesn’t have email.

Another reason I love email is because I NEVER need to worry that I’m interrupting or bothering someone. I can email them in the middle of the night, first thing in the morning, while they’re eating dinner, while they’re at work and I know they will receive my message when it’s a convenient time for them and respond accordingly.

If you email me, I’ll most likely respond within the hour. If you call me and leave a voice message, I’ll usually wait to respond until Dave is home from school. And if you call me and don’t leave a voice message, I probably won’t call you back because in my mind, whatever you had to say wasn’t that important (otherwise you would have left a message).

2. The internet allows connection with more family and friends.

Neither Dave nor I are the type of people who are naturally great at staying connected with friends and extended family members — even if they live right down the street.

It’s not because we don’t care or even because we don’t have time — it’s just not our “gift”. We’d both rather stay at home and enjoy the peace and quiet than come up with an excuse to get together with more people… even if they are our friends (I know this might be very difficult for some of you to comprehend!)

However, thanks to Facebook, Dave and I are both involved in a couple groups with our close friends, with family members, and I even have a group of local blogging pals. We use these groups to stay in constant communication with our friends and family — and it’s awesome.

We can share fun, happy, sad, and angry moments with our close friends and family members without repeating ourselves a billion times or requiring everyone to get babysitters for their little kids. I can ask blogging questions and bounce business ideas around in my blogging group without the need for daily or weekly meetings (we usually meet in person every month or every other month and it’s super fun).

Of course, Facebook, email, and FaceTime (or Skype) are great tools for regularly connecting with long-distance friends and family who are much more difficult to see in real life. And yes, I use Facebook to stay connected with friends from the past that I might have otherwise lost touch with.

I realize that some of you might be thinking “yes, but you’re just replacing personal interaction with a computer screen” and sometimes that IS true. However, many of our close friends and family members live too far away to have any regular personal interaction — and based on Dave’s and my personalities, we honestly wouldn’t have much personal interaction, even with friends who live very close by. Without the internet, we’d just be out of the loop 🙂

I know 100% for sure, Dave and I are WAY WAY more connected with family and friends because of the Internet — and not in a stalker way. We legitimately enjoy sharing our lives and learning what’s going on in other’s lives thanks to our Facebook groups, our Facebook newsfeed, email, and FaceTime.

3. The internet creates a virtual community and support.

There are SOOOOOO many people I would consider my “friends” who I’ve actually never met in real life. They are people I turn to when I need trusted answers and support. I know I can be honest with them and trust what they say. There is no way I would have ever met these people if it weren’t for the power of the internet.

I’ve also met many people who are now “real life friends” thanks to Facebook and my blog. I actually met 4 or 5 different neighbors because they either read my blog or we had a mutual friend on Facebook… and now we’re sharing recipes, swapping kids clothes, and scheduling play dates!

I have a large group of trusted local blogging friends thanks to my blog and Facebook — and as I mentioned earlier, we try to met monthly to bounce ideas off each other (and just get out of the house for a few hours to eat hot food and have adult conversations).

I’ve even secured all my Virtual Assistant jobs thanks to the internet. In fact, 3 of the people I work for on a weekly basis (and chat with almost daily) have never even seen me or talked to me in real life! I know that’s totally weird — I even feel crazy just typing it — but it’s true, and it wouldn’t be possible without the internet.

4. The internet offers instant information on every topic imaginable.

I realize you definitely shouldn’t believe everything you read on the internet — and also, that instant + unlimited information CAN be a huge negative if it’s abused (just like any “tool”).

However, for the most part, I think most people would agree that access to instant (free) information is a very positive thing. I mean, just think of how many times you “just Google it” to find an answer to a question you’ve been wondering about — how to clean the stains out of a certain fabric, what food to use as a substitute for that ingredient you’re missing, natural remedies for common colds, how to change the headlight of a car, what to do if your heater keeps shutting down (these are just a few of the things I’ve Googled in the past month or so).

And there’s SO much more… craft ideas for kids, tips for planning a great vacation, ideas to improve blogging stats, frugal holiday decorations, menu planning on a budget, what to look for when buying a used car, ideas for bathroom renovations, relationship advice, healthy living tips, and the list goes on and on and on.

If I have a question about anything or am trying to learn something about virtually any topic, I almost always turn to the internet before any other source.

5. The internet streamlines almost every aspect of my life.

I don’t get any paper bills, I don’t write checks, I don’t need to bring my paychecks to the bank, I don’t need to print photos, I don’t need to go to the mall, I don’t need to subscribe to magazines or even buy books… because I can do all of that electronically via the internet!

I’m not saying that you CAN’T do any of the things above… we just don’t NEED to anymore thanks to the world wide web.

Also, since we’re talking about “streamlining”… I feel the need to mention that Netflix can “stream” almost any show or movie to my TV and/or computer. Yes it’s pretty amazing 🙂

I realize we need to use caution and take proper steps to protect and secure our online information (especially when it comes to our children), but overall, I personally feel that the Internet is an amazing tool that has helped me to improve, simplify, and better my life.

I (literally) can’t imagine life without it 🙂

What are your thoughts on life with the internet?

I’m especially curious to hear what those who HAVE lived most of their adult life without the internet would have to say!

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20 comments

  1. Rhonda H.

    01/31/2015

    I also am in my 50’s (I’ll be 54 soon!), and I remember way back! But I’ve loved my computer & internet from the moment I turned on my first computer. I couldn’t survive without the internet. If it can be done online, I do it!
    I purchased my first smartphone almost a year ago (I know, it took me a while to convert). It was a bit of a challenge going from an old-school cell phone to an Android, but my kids helped me! I hate phone calls and texts, as well. I’m so thanful for email!

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  2. Allison

    01/20/2015

    Hi Andrea –

    Just so you know I’m a few months away from turning 51 and I love the internet. I am on the computer all day at work and as soon as I get home I have my laptop, my tablet and my smart phone all on and close by. Yes, a couple of times I was on all 3 at the same time. What can I say I’m really good at multi-tasking! lol

    I love to text and to email. I tell everyone I hate to use me phone as a phone. I’m a total introvert and like the “distance” emailing and texting allows me – even if I’m answering right away.

    Btw, you can, apparently, interrupt people with an email. Here’s my story. I work as an accountant. During tax season I work in the office on Saturdays. When I’m preparing a t/r and notice I am missing information I will email the client. Well…a couple of years ago I emailed a couple on Saturday and on Monday I got called into the boss. The client called my boss and complained that I emailed on Saturday and since they are Orthodox Jewish they can’t use their computer on Saturday and I should’ve known that and not emailed them until Monday!
    {I am currently shaking my head remembering this} This does not make sense to me. You can’t control your incoming email. If you can’t use the computer on Saturday – don’t use and when you turn it on Sunday or Monday you will see my email.
    lol
    lol
    idk…some people
    🙂

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  3. Abbie

    01/19/2015

    I can remember when personal computers first came out and I couldn’t imagine what I would use one for. Now, my retired husband and I use the internet daily. We keep an on-line calendar and grocery list (Cozi) , have Facebook accounts, pay our bills on line, put library books on hold, download library books, shop, email, message, and FaceTime. My parents in their 80’s have Facebook , email, and shop on line. Facebook allow my parents to keep up with their many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

    I agree with Chris K about using technology when we are actually with people. I allow no smart phones or tablets at my dinner table or when we go out to eat.

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  4. Chris k in Wisconsin

    01/19/2015

    Being in our 60’s we certainly remember life without computers and cell phones, etc. I have to say we use technology all of the time. We do so much shopping with Amazon. One Click & Prime makes things so easy! We do all of our banking and pay every bill we can on-line. From home we can renew license plates, order library books, check phone numbers and addresses, look at store ads, print coupons, look up hundreds of recipes, read magazines and books, and keep in touch with family and friends via FB. (Our kids have technology that allows them to check on and change the temps in their homes from wherever they are.) I have to say that I do NOT like listening in on people’s conversations on their cells when we are out and about, and I hate seeing a family at a table at a restaurant with everyone buried in “screens”, but that is about manners and family dynamics, I guess. I find it best if we embrace the technology and use what wor for us. I find people our age who deny and fight technology tend to be pretty isolated and that doesn’t appeal to me.

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    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks for your input Chris — glad to hear you are so “in favor” of technology. I know many people younger than you that refuse to try Facebook because “it’s for kids” and they end up missing out on lots of interaction with extended family, grandkids, friends from high school, etc.

    Also, I don’t like the public phone conversations or screen time at restaurants either 🙂 I try REALLY hard not to answer my phone when I’m closely surrounded by others and Dave and I both make a point to keep our phones in our pockets if we go out to eat!

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  5. Christine P

    01/19/2015

    I love the internet!! I’m an information person and have always been a reader. I think I read even more now! I love to streamline the repetitive tasks of life. I’m very fond of efficiency. I’m 48 so know life before and after. I wouldn’t know my extended family as well as I do without Facebook. It has made life better, definitely!

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    Andrea Reply:

    Yes! Dave probably wouldn’t have any contact with 3/4th of his extended family if it wasn’t for Facebook — they live ALL over the country and with little kids, we’d never be able to travel to see them all!

    That’s probably one of my favorite things about Facebook!

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  6. Rebecca

    01/19/2015

    We also use it for EVERYTHING. Everything is online. Aside from life/home management I love using it for “how to” videos and posts. I am teaching myself to cook from the internet. My kids watch more YouTube how to craft videos than regular TV shows.

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    Andrea Reply:

    yes!! Aren’t YouTube videos amazing. We’ve watched them many times to figure out how to fix something in our house or with our cars. I even watched one to figure out how to install our carseat and carry a baby in a Moby Wrap before Nora was born and we had no idea what we were doing 🙂

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  7. Donna

    01/19/2015

    I am a “half-er”, I suppose. The 286 (one of the earliest home computers) came out when I was in graduate school. It didn’t do anything compared to what this generation of technology has to offer, yet it changed the world. Then MAC came out… I was your age when cell phones hit the market and much older when smart phones appeared. With that as background, I CAN live without the internet, but I wouldn’t want to 🙂 I use it for everything that you described. My life is richer because of it, many relationships are stronger because of the ease of communication, facts and helpful information at my fingertips…It is harder for me to keep up with the ever changing aspects of technology, perhaps because I wasn’t “born” into it–like a second language learned as an adult–never quite as fluent 🙂

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    Andrea Reply:

    haha — I like your term “half-er” 🙂 And yes, I think you’re right — it’s kind of like learning a 2nd language as an adult.

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    Tracey Reply:

    I’ll second all of that! I’ll be 45 on Friday, and it has me reflecting on changes…the Internet and my beloved iPhone are biggies. Definitely life-changing, and (mostly) for the better!

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  8. Jamie

    01/19/2015

    With 3 little kids at home, I use the internet for as much stuff as it lets me! The less I have to buckle/unbuckle from car seats when it’s freezing cold out, the better! Printing postage for mailing packages and scheduling for our mail carrier to pick it up has become super handy. So is our library’s online book catalog. I can find the call numbers for the books I want BEFORE we get there and make our library trips a little less frazzled (read: fewer books the rascals are ripping off the shelves while I’m looking). And if they don’t have the books I want, I can request it from another library and wait for them to call when it’s in.

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    Andrea Reply:

    Yes jamie, Dave uses the online library features weekly (if not daily). He’s always checking out “digital books” to read on his phone, and we ALWAYS request our books ahead of time so we can just walk into the library and pick them up. SO convenient!

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  9. Paulette

    01/19/2015

    I AGREE COMPLETELY!!! I have learned so much from the Net. Refer to something pretty much every day. Like you said, we just need to be sensible about security. And without it, I wouldn’t have ‘met’ you and your cute family!

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    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Paulette — and without the internet, I wouldn’t have met any of you either!

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  10. Verity@homemakerspectrum

    01/19/2015

    Agreed!

    And as a mom of a large family who is always looking to stream and organize, I love that the internet allows me to be able to get rid of more physical items because I can access them digitally.

    Great article!

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    Andrea Reply:

    YES! I didn’t even mention anything about Craigslist, Ebay, or online garages sales — but that’s another huge bonus of the internet! My house would be “furniture-less” without Craigslist 🙂

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  11. Carrie

    01/19/2015

    I love having the internet. Just by having Facebook, I’ve actually become closer to some people I would never run into in the normal course of the day. I am in my early 40s so I remember not having a home computer and life before the internet.

    I have a question for you. How did you get your virtual assistant jobs without meeting the person? Does it seem awkward to only know them by computer?

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    Andrea Reply:

    Hey Carrie, Most of the virtual assistants I know have gotten their jobs without ever knowing their “boss” personally — that’s kind of how the world of “virtual” assisting works 🙂

    As for me, the blogs I work for contacted me since they knew of me based on my blog. I guess, maybe they feel like they do know me a little because of everything I’ve shared on my blog?? It’s definitely a different way to work — but it sure works well for me!

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