Serving into the Net

On July 25, 2008, Google search discovered 1 trillion unique URLs or web addresses.

It is remarkable when you stop to consider the vastness of the Internet and how it is still continuing to grow. It links people worldwide and allows for the sharing of news and opinions. As a college student, I certainly use the internet for research but how else do I utilize this wealth of information? This is an example of a typical day for me as it relates to the internet.

9:30 am- Wake up, roll over to computer to check the local weather and my email.
10:30 am- Walk to class a few minutes early so I can browse news and sports sites. Check my email.
10:55 am- Check my online blog that I’m keeping for class. Update the site with new material.
11:30 am- Search my online college site for special events and functions.
12:30 pm- “Surf” the internet for about an hour looking at Facebook, Wikipedia, Collegehumor and various sports sites. Check email.
3:30 pm- Visit MapQuest for directions to bank in Greensboro. Simultaneously check the bank’s site to check my current balance.
5:15 pm- Find local TV listings on the net to determine if there is anything worth watching tonight.
5:30 pm- Check local weather for tonight as well as email.
6:30 pm- Use internet for homework. Online time could be as long as several hours.
9:45 pm- Search local movie theater show times for the weekend.
10:15 pm- Browse Facebook a final time. Check email for the night.

The internet makes us capable of doing just about anything. From financial trading to Christmas shopping, the internet has changed the way I function as a person. So what would happen if the internet suddenly disappeared? What would I do if such a disaster ever occurred? First thing is I would try to log on and search MSNBC.com to see what was going on.

Daniel Temple of the Elon School of Communications


The Era of the Internet

A few years ago, right after the Internet really took off, my cleaning lady Jeane was planning an excursion with her family to Walt Disney Word. Jeane, who had been coming to my house since before I was born, had been saving her money for several years specifically for this trip. Her husband had recently died, her son was in a wheelchair and most of her family worked minimum-wage jobs to keep afloat. But no one worked harder than Jeane. She always prioritized her family, and she wanted this trip more than anything.

One week my father overhead her speaking on the phone about how she was having trouble finding hotels that would accommodate her situation. He knew she wasn’t familiar with online bookinga, so he discretely asked me to investigate some hotels. I began searching, but soon realized that with Jeane’s circumstances several hotel rooms would be pricy and difficult to secure.

But I soon stumbled upon a house that would fit her family of 16 and was stocked with multiple bedrooms, bathrooms and a pool. And it was a fraction of what the hotel rooms would charge.

When I told her of my discovery, and that it was available, her eyes welled with tears. The price cut would allow her to spend more time there, with the people she loved.

My quick key swipes meant absolutely nothing in terms of the hours of labor she logged so she could take her family on a trip they would remember forever. Because of the ease of the Internet, I viewed what I did as literally nothing. It was a few moments of my day. But to her it was a vacation with the ones she loved. It was seeing her grandchildren laugh with Mickey Mouse. It was everything.

Story by Andie Diemer, from Elon University’s School of Communications


Internet as a portal to the past

My mother graduated from Irvington High School in 1971. At this time, there was no Facebook, MySpace or Classmates.com. She kept in touch with friends by calling or writing them.

She was skeptical of the Internet when it first came out. My mother continued to call and write her former classmates. She waited until the class reunion to see who her friends had become.

After 15 years, the Internet has developed into a monumental source of information. Younger generations rely on the Internet to purchase clothes, furniture and other items. They have become so loyal to the Internet that many of their daily tasks revolve around the computer.

My mother’s computer literacy has grown tremendously in the past 15 years. She now checks her email every day and has an account on Classmates.com. She would have accounts on MySpace and Facebook if she could figure out how to do it. Thankfully, she has not reached that point…yet.

While browsing the web, my mother stumbled across a website titled, “Irvington Remembered.” The site, created by one of her old friends, features a variety of photos from the 1970s. She even saw pictures of herself.

The lengthy website includes photos, newspaper clippings and programs. My mother scrolled for days recalling old names, faces and memories.

She contacted her friend and volunteered to contribute some of her old photos. This required digging through years of photo albums, scanning the appropriate pictures, and sending the files as attachments. Of course, my mother enlisted my help.

We spent hours laughing at the clothing styles and the doodlings on the photos. Ultimately, I ended up burning the photos to a CD and asking my mother to mail them to her friend. We are currently waiting for the site administrator to add our pictures to the page.

Story by Lesley Cowie of Elon School of Communications


The world’s greatest personal Assistant

Spending a semester abroad, studying in Copenhagen, Denmark, and traveling Europe by myself, for the first time, could have been completely overwhelming. Could have been, but wasn’t. I brought along my trusty companion: my laptop. Equipped with an Internet connection, I knew it could do practically anything.

Research assistant. Collaboration manager. Submissions service. Regardless of the stereotypes, I did STUDY abroad. I even collaborated with my mentor, Elon University Professor Brooke Barnett, to apply for a Lumen Prize, which enables me to research media rhetoric in terrorism coverage over the next two years. Without the Internet, I wouldn’t have had the information to complete my proposal, nor the resources to submit my application (at 6 a.m. in Dublin) and win one of the prizes. My Lumen work is now underway, thanks to the Internet.

Travel agent. Tour guide. Trip advisor. Five months in Europe is not a long time, especially for a girl determined to experience as much of the great continent as possible. Searching online, I was able to make arrangements to travel by plane, train and automobile to 11 countries. Thanks to other travelers’ tips and online city guides, I toured the Cliffs of Moor in Ireland, Loch Ness in Scotland and the Swiss Alps. Weather.com helped me assess what to pack. Thanks to the Internet, I had an umbrella in Krakow.

Communicator. Photo album. Friend. Six time zones may have separated us for over five months, but I never lost touch with my friends and family. We exchanged stories, complained about homework and shared photos. We weren’t charged any international calling fees or any international postage. My best friend shared her wedding plans via AOL Instant Messenger. My uncles emailed me photos of my newly adopted cousins. I assured my parents that I was alive by posting on my blog. I scheduled virtual face-to-face time with friends via Skype. No lag time, no waiting. Six hours difference, halfway around the world and I had my friends at my fingertips. Literally. All thanks to the Internet.

Story by Hannah Williams of the Elon School of Communictions


In Commemoration of OneWebDay

Four years of college simply does not allow enough time to research the variety of subjects that interest me. Had I the time, I would probably take classes in every discipline. Unfortunately, we have to pick a focus. This was difficult for me, and even as a junior I question if I’ve made the right decision by dedicating my time to the study of journalism. While journalism is my major, I’ve chosen to minor in both French and creative writing, though I doubt that double minors are common.

The Internet is a tool I use constantly for the purposes of entertainment, communication and education. Since coming to college, I’ve taken advantage of the access I have to databases of journal articles and online books. Most recently, I’ve been studying the science of linguistics in my spare time. While Elon University’s library has books on the subject, it’s much more convenient for me to use the Internet for study. I can access hundreds of scientific articles and reports via online databases while I’m sitting in my bedroom. I may never have the opportunity to take the linguistics class that Elon offers, but because I have so much access to information on the Internet, I feel less like I’m missing out.

Story by Rebecca Wetherbee of Elon School of Communications


Window from Google

Congratulations to celebrants of OneWebDay!

Depending on how you count, Internet has been around operationally since at least January 1983 and for Bob Kahn since early 1973 and for me a bit later when he asked me to help figure out what open networking might look like.

September is a significant month for the Internet. The first paper on the idea was presented in September 1973 at the University of Sussex and a more refined version published in May 1974. Thanks to the invention of the WWW, the net has become a major nexus for about 20% of the world’s population.

Susan Crawford asked for anecdotes. Here’s mine.

Last year, my wife and I went on a brief vacation that included houseboating on Lake Powell near Page, Arizona. As we approached Page, we and our friends began to discuss what meals we should plan while on the lake. Since there are no grocery stores on the lake, we needed to purchase all the food we would need before departing from the marina. Someone asked if we could make paella. I love paella but I thought “Gee, that needs saffron. Where are we going to find saffron in Page, Arizona?” So I hauled out my trusty BlackBerry and found I had a good GPRS signal so went to the Google home page and typed in “saffron, page arizona, grocery store.”

Several choices came up so I picked one and called the telephone number. A voice answered and I asked “May I speak to the spice department please?” This was probably the owner on the line, “This is the spice department,” he said. ”Do you have any saffron?” I asked. “I dunno but I’ll check” he replied and soon came back to confirm that he had the spice on the shelf. We followed the map on the web page to the store and I dashed in to purchase $12.99 worth of saffron (.06 ounces).

What struck me later was that this was a perfect example of the value of geographically indexed information. In real time, my browser on my mobile was my window into knowledge about the local area. I got information when I needed it about what I needed. It reinforced my appreciation for being able to get useful information as required. Someone had taken the trouble to share this information and I took advantage of it. So it goes as the world shares its knowledge and the search companies help us all to find it.

Vint Cerf is known as the Father of the Internet and I wrote to him to write a story for One Web Day, a story to be featured on Sep 22, on the day of One Web Day. He quietly sent his entry which went in as a comment in another story!! That is a story within a story on what interesting things happen on the Web… Thank you, Dr Cerf


OneWebDay Goes Beyond the Oregon Trail

When the Internet became of age in 1993 I was sitting in my elementary school computer lab smashing the keys on a first generation Apple 2E. Back then, I just thought a computer was a large beige box that occasionally allowed me to play my favorite Atari port like Frogger or Oregon Trail. Little did I know that the computer, and the Internet, would become such an enormous tool in the way that I conduct my life. The Internet has been for me a tool that has allowed me to communicate with almost every source of information. In this day in age every company, interest group, and individual has his or her own web site that is available for access.

The internet offers a broad range of communication options that can become extremely complicated, but it is not the most complicated communication outlets that play such a significant role in how I conduct my everyday, but the small, menial Internet uses that have shaped the way I live. The Internet has made it so calling for pizza became a thing of the past, I just visit the Dominoes Pizza website and order my meal. Right when I wake up I am on the Internet to check what time my bus will be arriving. It is the simplicity at which you can do tasks that even a few years ago would take several minutes can now be done in a matter of clicks.

The majority of my online time is spent looking up numbers, checking dates, and reading the latest news stories. While I have not found a soul mate using one of the many online dating services, or helped a woman give birth over video chat, I have found driving directions on Mapquest, and for me that in an of itself is how the internet has changed my life.

Janna Quitney Anderson Director of Imagining the Internet aked students enrolled in her Reporting course in Elon University’s School of Communications to write about the Web’s influence on them and also shoot and post a short YouTube video. Janna can be reached at (336) 278 5733

This story is by Bryce Little


Electronic Family Ties: Why the Internet is important in my life

My older brother and I have always been close.  We attended the same elementary school, high school and university; we spent years bailing each other out of trouble, sharing rides, advice and friends.  He was always around to help me with problems or initiate wild adventures.  After graduation he moved to Wyoming, leaving me in a different time zone.

Keeping in touch is difficult.  It takes initiative, time and some sort of means to actually communicate.  Letters are slow and the telephone poses the constraints of needing both people to be available at the same time. The invention of the Internet provided a form of communication that is close to instantaneous, but could be used at one’s leisure.

My friends and family know that the easiest way to reach me is through e-mail, since I am somewhat addicted to checking it, and am constantly on the run.  Through e-mail I am able to continue to get my brother’s advice on how to deal with Mom and Dad (and then immediately e-mail them, using his guidance).  We share stories and photos constantly, whether it is eight in the morning before classes or when he gets home from work late at night.

He sends me links to websites that he finds hilarious, knowing that I’ll laugh with him.  He sends photographs of his extreme mountain biking adventures that make me glad to be sent a photograph, rather than being beside him fearing for his life.  I’ve even met his new cat, Kenya, thanks to the invention of webcams and a neat little program called Skype.  Even though I won’t see my brother until December, the Internet keeps convenient communication in our hectic lives.

Janna Quitney Anderson Director of Imagining the Internet aked students enrolled in her Reporting course in Elon University’s School of Communications to write about the Web’s influence on them and also shoot and post a short YouTube video. Janna can be  reached at (336) 278 5733

This Story and Video by Kate Austin, other stories by other students to follow.


One Web Day, Google and Grandfather

That whole Google thing is incredible!” These were direct words from my 81-year-old grandfather.  His generation had to actually spend hours in the campus library, pouring over book after book to find research for that mid-term paper.  Now we can just “Google” it.

While it may be that my generation takes the Internet for granted a bit, it’s not to say we do not take advantage of what it has to offer. Personally, the Internet has definitely made life a lot simpler for me, as it has for most everyone else. Here’s why:

 Being a person who always wants to know what is going on in the world, I am able to get on CNN.com or another continuous news Web Site and read about the latest political scandals or news from the Middle East. This idea of instantaneous news in one’s hand via the Internet has allowed people from all over the globe to know what’s going on around them.

 The Internet has also allowed me to maintain active social connections. Having moved six times since I was eight years old, I have accumulated friends and acquaintances throughout the country. I am able to keep up with them and stay in touch via Facebook and Instant Messenger. My best friend from when I was twelve is still one of my best friends. And the funny thing is, we haven’t actually seen each other in nine years. Thanks to Facebook and IM, we have kept in touch throughout the years and are still part of each other’s lives in a big way.

 The Internet has made life in general easier. I am able to do research online, read about celebrity gossip, and even was able to stay in touch with my family and friends through email when I was studying abroad. Hoping to obtain a career in journalism in the future, I know that the Internet will be vital to my job, now that newspapers and other publications are all converging online. In such a fast paced world we now live in, we have to keep up with the constant changes and the Internet allows us to do so.

Janna Quitney Anderson Director of Imagining the Internet aked students enrolled in her Reporting course in Elon University’s School of Communications to write about the Web’s influence on them and also shoot and post a short YouTube video. Janna can be  reached at (336) 278 5733

This is one of those videos with the transcript. This Story and Video by Laura Smith, other stories by other students to follow.


“How did the web change your life?”

Web penetration in Brazilian population is still considerably low (22.4%), even with the significant increase since 2003 (10%).

Video title: “How did the web change your life?”
Author: Elisa Gandour
Duration: 3:23
Location: Rio de Janeiro, RJ – Brazil
Language: Portuguese


“Marina, how did the web change your life?”
“I found my first boyfriend through the web, as well as my first good student job. So I think the web changed my life in various ways. I keep in touch with a great part of my friends using the web and… I do everything on the web – well, almost everything!”

— xx —

“Wow, with the web I have orkut, MSN, I can meet a lot of new people. The question is if I can search for everything I need in it.”

— xx —

“The good part about the web is that we can get to know a lot of things and everything we need, we search on the web, there’s always a solution.”

— xx —

“The web changed my life because it’s very nice to have the world in your hands, everything right in front of me without having to move. That’s awesome!”

— xx —

“Well, the web didn’t only change my life, but everyone’s as well… in the world, right? Nowadays, you do things from home that you couldn’t do before. For example, paying bills, shopping…”
“Getting a ticket for driving and being interviewed…”
“And some other things…”
“The ticket will be sent through the web…”
“Yeah, there’s that… Everything now involves the web.”

— xx —

“It changed not only my life but everyone else’s, both sides, everyone’s using it. It’s better to find a job and everything.”

— xx —

“Well, to be honest, the web didn’t change my life. Just a bit at work, because it made communication between people easier and faster… But that’s it.”

— xx —

“I’m not into the web that much.”
“Any particular reason?”
“Lack of time, because I work a lot and I party a lot as well, so I don’t have time to be around computers and the web.”

— xx —

(confused dialogue)

“Did the web change your life?”

“What do you do?”
“I sell cookies; I’m a camelô (street seller).”
“Have you thought about selling it on the web?”
“Sure! Just ask for it and we’ll send it.”
“And what else did the web do for you?”
“Well… That’s it.”
“That’s it?”
“That’s it.”