Do you remember the days when telephone conversations kept you bound to your rotary phone, getting tangled in twisted cords? Or when the first cell phone, roughly equivalent to the size of brick, was the most exciting product to hit the market? If you know what I’m talking about, you are part of a generation that experienced technological expansion firsthand. The evolution of technology changed the world as we knew it and unlocked possibilities we never thought imaginable. Since their invention, devices such as cameras, smart phones, credit card currency and laptops have constantly evolved, perfected their features, and have redefined our daily lives.
Let’s take a look at 10 of the many possibilities that digital devices allow now that didn’t exist 20 years ago and see just how far we have progressed in the technical world and how it affects us!
- Online shop. Online shopping was introduced in the late 20th century by Michael Aldrich and has progressed today into one of the main ways people pay for and receive items. Websites such as Amazon are representative of the range of different items you could order online from clothes and hair dye to food and jewelry. Online shopping contributed to the breakthrough in minimizing time and effort into picking up both necessary or pleasurable items; it’s hard to think of a life before single-click checkout.
- Share pictures with anyone, anywhere, at anytime. This can be done on any of the major apps and websites nowadays: Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter. We may not realize it, but social media did not exist at all 10 years ago. Now it’s not only the source of learning more about someone’s life, but is also the support of many people’s careers and is used by nearly everyone with a digital device.
- Communicate immediately with anyone. This is one that I think most of us take for granted. Text, email, and Facebook Messenger are all ways we can contact anybody at anytime. Snail mail is rare and only used for business, billing, or special occasion purposes now!
- Store documents and files in cloud storage. Before programs such as Google Drive or Box, we had no way of protecting our files when our computers shut down unexpectedly. We’ve all fallen victim to losing a document we’d been working on for hours right before its deadline since our computer decided to turn off before we clicked the save button. Now, we’re able to keep our photos, documents, and other files in a safe cloud format that automatically saves everything even when we forget – no more document-loss anger breakdowns at 11:55pm.
- Apply for jobs. We’re now able to search and apply for an endless amount of jobs using job-search sites; back in the day before the internet, people would have to go into the store and pick up a physical application. Websites such as Indeed and LinkedIn have saved us significant amounts of time in finding the right career.
- Sign documents digitally. This is a fairly new movement with an old concept. Signatures have been around for centuries, however new e-signature products change what we know ‘classic’ signatures to look and feel like. This process involves transferring secure digital documents and validating a digital signature just as a written signature. E-signature platforms such as SignNow by Barracuda Networks have functioned as a key part in replacing paper clutter within businesses. Legally supported, it has saved a plethora of businesses time and money and is a trend that is quickly gaining popularity.
- Stream movies and videos. Another benefit that technology has brought to us that you and I probably cannot imagine our daily lives without. Who doesn’t binge-watch Black Mirror on Netflix or Game of Thrones on HBO after a long day at work or classes? Or how would we have ever known about the short-lived Harlem Shake fad, the Gangnam Style music video, or the circa 2005 Charlie the Unicorn Goes to Treasure Island if it weren’t for Youtube? Yeah, I almost forgot about all those too – but at least we can easily go back and access them to remind us that they existed thanks to streaming sites now!
- Listen to music. I’m sure all of us have used our Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal, or Pandora to satisfy our music cravings. These different music programs have all made it possible for us to listen to our favorite songs on any device whether we’re studying, at work, on the train, or even going for a run.
- Pay your taxes. Paying your taxes is a notoriously known tedious process now – but a couple decades ago, we had to do it all on paper. Popular tax websites like TurboTax basically does all the calculations for you after you input the numbers from your tax forms. Even though it still takes time, it definitely is not the same hair-pulling task that people had to do before digital tax services.
- Read books and articles. Paperback books and newspapers are slowly exiting the modern world. Most reading material now is online! From college textbooks to our favorite reads, we have access to them on any of our digital devices. From just the touch of our fingertips, we have the ability to kick back and study without worrying about forgetting our book somewhere. Thanks to devices such as the Amazon Kindle or any of the newer tablets, all of us bookworms can save money as well.
For all you millennials reading, you might be thinking something like “Wow, I can’t imagine my life without these things.” It’s a given that too much digital exposure can be unhealthy, but for the most part all these advancements we’ve undergone throughout the past several decades have drastically affected every single one of our lives for the better. It has been crucial in the development of every aspect that supports the world and therefore it’s imperative to be grateful for being able to experience life in this fast-paced and innovative time.