Today is the day to celebrate your ability to read my blog. Or check your e-mail. Or market your online product to a buyer who is 3000 miles away from the your home office where you’re dressed to the nines in your favorite fuzzy slippers.
In case you missed it, today marks the fourth annual OneWebDay, an annual global event that celebrates the power of the Web to create positive change.
My interactive media master’s program, along with the Imagining the Internet Center, had the pleasure of hosting the North Carolina OneWebDay gathering this morning at Elon University. After promoting the event, we gave a short survey to the crowd. These were our results:
47.4 percent of respondents said the World Wide Web was proposed by Tim Berners-Lee in 1980. In actuality, it was proposed by Berners-Lee in 1990.
50.79 percent of respondents said Internet security was the most important issue for the future of the Internet.
40.8 percent of respondents said that 25 percent of the world has Internet access, which is accurate.
35.5 percent of respondents said that 61 percent of North Carolinians have Internet access in their homes, which is an accurate figure. North Carolina ranks 41st among all 50 states in home Internet access.
This year, the day’s theme is centered on digital inclusion, due to the increasing importance of Internet access in our Web 2.0 era.
Let me explain.
The Internet has revolutionary power. In its short existence, it has changed the way we communicate, form relationships, travel, learn, play and especially work. No other technology has the capacity to instantly connect an executive in Houston to a client in Johannesburg. The boardroom and the chat room are now one and the same. The Internet is more than just a new tool for business. It is business.
Thanks to high-speed Internet connections, we can browse, barter and bank from halfway around the world. More and more people are turning to their laptops and phones to compare prices and make purchases. Not only that, but more people can easily actualize new business start-ups with the cost reductions facilitated by the digital world.
In fact, despite a troubling economy and declining overall retail sales figures, online sales are projected to rise 11 percent in 2009 to reach a total of $156 billion. This is just two percent points down from 2008’s total. Projected totals for 2009 expect online sales to generate seven percent of overall retail revenue. This is a one percent increase from 2008’s total.
Global barriers are dissolving and reasonable competition and pricing are emerging. Fair and free access to the Internet is important to preserve in the future for this very reason. The Internet increases choice and availability as the cost of inventory decreases and more stocked items are becoming available online than offline.
No other invention or technology will transform the globe more than the Internet. By addressing issues like the Digital Divide and working towards increased free Internet access, more people worldwide will have the chance to grow and profit individually. THIS is why we celebrate today!
To learn more about OneWebDay and important issues facing the future of the Internet, visit http://onewebday.org.
OneWebDay’s blog featuring my video post: http://onewebday.org/2009/09/16/freeman-onewebday/