The internet has revolutionised how people communicate and how information is transferred. The world has become a smaller place as people no longer have to travel long distances to get an accurate reflection of how people half-way across the world live. Everybody is just a few clicks away from everybody else. Obviously there are some limits, particularly in autocratic states where freedom of speech is not a given, but for most people the internet has facilitated the ability to share information freely with people throughout the globe. Even people in countries with repressive regimes have been able to utilise the internet and global communications to let the world in on what is happening where they are. The internet has therefore helped bring people closer together.
Ordinary individuals no longer have to simply rely on news programmes to tell them what is happening in the world, as they have at their finger tips the ability to do their own research and communicate with people who are actually there. Some websites are clearly more respected than others, and indeed large news agencies such as the BBC are best placed to fund wide-scale news coverage. However, even respected broadcasters have been forced to adapt to accommodate technological developments, so that footage and photographs taken by ordinary citizens are often utilised in news stories reported on the web. People no longer simply consume the news; they are able to shape news coverage and to have their own say on how stories are being reported.
Social networking sites and forums have enabled people from across the globe to come together with a sense of common purpose. Sometimes they might have a common interest, such as trying to limit global warming, and the internet has enabled coordinated action when it comes to campaigns and demonstrations. Forums don’t need to be political, though – they can allow people to find others in the world who have a similar interests to them or maybe a health condition – and to communicate freely and learn about different perspectives and cultures. Chatrooms often serve a similar purpose, allowing people to talk and learn about other people’s society and culture, whilst many relationships have started as a result of online communication, clearly bringing the world together!
Email has also managed to make the world a smaller place, as people no longer have to wait for days or weeks for a letter, and people therefore tend to stay in touch. In fact, the ability to fill in forms online and to do research online has helped bring the world closer, as people consider applying for jobs or to universities that they may not have considered before, even if they are very far away.
The internet has therefore proved instrumental in altering people’s perception of the world and of other populations, as it has enabled greater communication and dialogue between people from different cultures throughout the world.
A few decades ago, travelling overseas or communicating with people who speak a different language was not part of everyday life. Today though, countries and communities around the world are becoming more connected. Travel is more affordable and accessible, and businesses and operating on a global scale, irrespective of how large they are.
Technology and new transport options contribute to the accessibility of different locations, and are helping our world become smaller. Another country can only be a few hours away on a plane, or a few time zones away via e-mail or Skype, which means that new opportunities are becoming available to make new friends, start new careers, and visit new places - especially with the help of translation.
Careers and Business
There are many new opportunities for businesses, including small translation businesses, to work with people from different countries. Product developers are constantly looking to China for the manufacturing of their goods, and India and the Philippines offer outsourced workers for writing, website and app development, administration and customer service.
New career paths are also becoming available for individuals wishing to conduct business in foreign countries, work with minority cultures, volunteer for a foreign cause, teach English as second language, or invest in foreign markets.
Students studying in school at the moment may be preparing themselves by learning a second language or studying international business, because they can see the world is becoming smaller and more connected. Respect for and knowledge of different cultures and languages is and will continue to be a highly desirable characteristic of a potential employee.
Travel and Tourism
Travelling to another country for work or recreation is also becoming easier, as airlines are offering discounted flights and tour providers are targeting backpackers and student travellers who have limited funds to spend. Getting a job overseas, even for a short time, is easier with agreements between countries to support working holiday visas, and businesses are learning they can obtain workers who are eager to find a job to finance them while they travel around.
Tourism used to be restricted to the wealthy, but it is now possible for young people to explore and learn overseas, and there are many opportunities available for them to do just this. There are now companies that specialise in supporting a person in travelling abroad, and the Internet is rich with forums, websites and blogs about the best places to see, stay and eat, when you do not have much money to your name.
The new ease of international travel, jobs, friendships and business relationships, is helping our world to understand itself better. Communities are becoming more dependent on each other, and connected through shared ventures; and individuals who are interested in exploring new and exciting places can realise that doing so is entirely possible.