I have spoken at some length about my love of the internet and how it has enabled me to have the business that I have today. But there are two sides to every story and while there is the good side to the internet, I do acknowledge that there is a bad side too.
In fact, for every single one of the things that I love about the internet I can also see the flipside.
Free Access to Knowledge and Information
Accessing knowledge and information is no longer for a privileged few but to anybody that can access the world wide web.
This now means that we are all free to consult ‘Dr Google’ anytime we like.
They say a little information is a dangerous thing….. that pain in your side is probably not cancer. Your father’s headaches are probably not a sign of a brain tumour and your child’s erratic behaviour is probably due to being a bit tired and overstimulated than some behavioural disorder.
Sometimes it makes sense for information to stay in the hands of a privileged few.
Low Barrier to Entry to Building a Business
The barriers to entry to building a business and entering new markets have never been lower. Anybody with internet connection and very basic technical skills can get an online ‘shopfront’ up and trading in a matter of hours, if not minutes.
But have you seen some of those businesses?
The world will always be divided between those that offer a quality product or service and truly care about their customers and the cowboys that are out to make a fast buck.
The internet makes it even easier for the cowboys to set out their stall and take advantage of the vulnerable.
Take for example services such as Wonga.com that offer short term loans to those that wouldn’t normally be able to access credit arrangements. Anyone up for a 292% interest rate unless you are completely desperate??
And yes, I appreciate that loan sharks have been around since time immortal but never has it been easier to present attractive offers and take advantage of the more vulnerable members of our society.
The Convenience of Being Able To Run a Business, Do Your Shopping (pretty much do anything) from home
Have you noticed how quiet our High Streets are these days? Instead people much prefer the convenience of being able to avoid the crowd, shop online and have it delivered to their own home at a specified time.
Books are now so cheap on retailers such as Amazon or second hand resellers like eBay that visits to the local library have become a rarity.
Free returns mean that rather than getting worked up in a changing room trying on a million different outfits, you can have them delivered, try them on in the comfort of your own home and then return the ones that you don’t want and at no extra cost.
And while I delight and indulge in the convenience of online shopping (regularly) it does mean that our High Streets are dying a death. It also means that our older generations are finding the High Streets a lonely place and not finding that sense of community and connection that they crave.
I love a bargain as much as the next person and I love the convenience of having my shopping delivered directly to my home. However, I do wonder what life will be like for my children as they get used to increasing convenience which results in fewer experiences to experience ‘the real world’ and the beautiful interplay of different generations.
So, what do you think? Is the ever shrinking world a good or a bad thing? Or, like me, do you have mixed feelings on the topic? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think.