Use Of The Internet Has Become A Way Of Life For Majority Of People

Robert Kirwan
Valley East Today


The actual statistics may vary slightly depending on which research company has done the study, but regardless of the minor variations from study to study, the conclusion is pretty clear: if you want to communicate in Northeastern Ontario , the internet has become the preferred method by the majority of residents. So much so, that the use of the internet has become an accepted way of life.

            In fact, it has been estimated that as many as 80% of all households now have computers in their homes. Furthermore, 75% of all people in those households have access to the internet, either at home or at work. In Valley East and Capreol, 100% of all residents have access to the internet, either at home or through work, school, or at the library.

            Studies have also shown that women are now just as likely to use the Internet as men. People of all ages no longer view the internet as a source of entertainment and amusement. They are using it for very practical reasons. Many regularly log on to check the weather, the news, sports, and to find political and financial information. They are downloading music and software, and even taking classes online.

            Email is becoming more and more of an essential communication tool You are being asked for your email address as much as your phone number today. The surveys find that for many activities, such as getting travel information, finding references for health or personal problems, or looking up a phone number, people are turning to their computers and the internet.

Barry Wellman, a sociology professor at the University of Toronto, said he was struck by the similarities and the affirmation that the Internet is so integrated into the lives of both men and women that "they aren't even thinking they are going on the Internet anymore."  Using the internet has simply become an accepted way of life.


            The wide-spread use of the internet by consumers is something that business owners and managers must now take into consideration when making their marketing plans. Many shoppers prefer to check out a store web site prior to making the trip to the mall. While shopping online is still growing, people still like to visit stores in person, but in order to make sure that they don’t waste time, many shoppers like to check things out on the internet first.

            The internet makes comparison shopping much easier simply because a person can examine several web sites and then decide which place to visit on the way home from work or during those precious few hours available on the weekend. This means that businesses without web sites are at a serious disadvantage and must rely upon traditional, and expensive, advertising methods.

            Some of the smaller businesses are still not convinced of the power of the internet as a marketing tool. Once they consider the “networking factor” and understand how people use emails, they change their tunes.


            The Valley East Today Electronic Newsletter is a perfect example of how the “Networking Factor” works with email messages. Every Tuesday the Valley East Today Electronic Newsletter is sent out to a large number of specific email addresses of people who have chosen to receive the publication. That number is rapidly increasing, but as of February 7, 2006 , it was approximately 1500. The “Networking Factor” comes into play when each of the 1500 people who receive the newsletter decide to “forward” one of more of the articles to people on their email address list. It continues when a person who receives one of these forwarded articles once again forwards it to people on their list, and so on, and so on…

            The actual number of times a message gets forwarded will depend on the nature of the article and interest level of the people receiving the message. However, it is estimated that a factor of anywhere from 5 to 10 is reasonable. This means that if you take the original 1500 people who receive the Valley East Today Electronic Newsletter and multiply that by the factor number, you get a very good approximation of how many computers have received the newsletter. This means that anywhere from 7500 to 15,000 computers have received each issue of the Valley East Today Electronic Newsletter.


            The beauty of web sites and email is that what you read can be saved and stored for future reference. When you read something in a newspaper or magazine, unless you put it in a safe place, you will never be able to find that article again. With the computer, you can always return to read something of interest, because it is stored in a conveniently located “Virtual Bookshelf” that will never be filled. This has huge implications for businesses which are in tune with the dynamics of the internet.


            The bottom line is that the future is here right now when it comes to the internet. This is just as necessary as a phone when it comes to communication. For parents, it is a necessary element of every child’s education and should be functional in every home where there are children. For businesses, a web site is a must if you are going to survive and be given serious consideration from the general consumer market. The message – get online as soon as possible.


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Valley East Today is published by
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