The last ten years have seen the Internet move from a global porn distribution network to becoming one of the true wonders of the modern world. (And also a much faster porn distribution network). While communication over the internet has always been fast, it has never been as easy to use as it is today. Compatible hardware was never so common, nor had the net generated such obscene amounts of money.
Before the internet it used to take years, decades even, to build a corporation worth billions on the stock market, yet compared to the likes of Google and Amazon even the meteoric rise of Microsoft seems ponderous.
The internet has ripped up old notions of time and space, with people now able like never before to exchange ideas, data and, most importantly of all, money. Transactions can happen almost instantly with as much confidence and security as might be present in a day to day physical transaction. Whilst fraud on the internet is always a danger, it is still no more risky than braving a trip to the shops.
So in this world where fortunes are made and lost by trading in nothing more substantial than data; where you can choose your friends and acquaintances not just from the people you meet at work or down the pub, but from all over the world; where you can get almost any item from any where delivered to your door without having to leave your desk.
We have to ask ourselves - is there anything that we really need good old fashioned Real Life for any more? Is a life of doing things and meeting people as our primitive ancestors in the late 20th Century knew it becoming redundant?
The Center for Online and Internet Addiction; Is real life as good as Second Life?
The Web Hermit
The notion of people living most of their lives in the internet is not a new one. The Centre For Online and Internet Addiction was founded in 1995, so even back then in the days of dial up and Windows 3.1 there were certifiable web addicts. Back then excessive web-usage was seen as an addiction and the chief reason for this is that in those days the web, for the overwhelming number of users, was a diversion. While the internet as a research tool even back then was substantially more convenient and useful than any trip to your average public library, the principle usage was frivolous. The idea that a person could work, shop, chat, play and even find romance on the Internet was an accepted possibility, but people still attached a stigma to it.
As the Internet comes of age we are seeing that stigma removed, as the web becomes less an amusing diversion and more a useful tool which in some fields is practically a necessity. As the first generation born into the Information Age reaches adulthood, we are seeing the possibility for almost the entirety of a persons life to be handled online, where real life and online are effectively the same thing.