The Internet has revolutionized the planet, and was the cultural phenomenon of the late 20th Century. It has its detractors, but most people see it as a force for good. Information on the ‘Superhighway’, as it’s known, can be accessed in workplaces, schools, universities, cyber cafes and homes around the globe.
It’s used for research, online buying, booking holidays, chatting to friends and family, games and downloading music and films. However, it’s probably had the most impact on the world of business. Whether a giant corporation or a small business run from someone’s kitchen, suddenly everyone was in a global market.
Not everyone survived and mistakes were made.
Trading everything from rare comics to state of the art electronic goods has never been easier, and the developing countries are also enthusiastic participants.
Communication in the office, by way of email, is second nature now, and emailing customers and suppliers is quick and efficient. Of course, Spam is an annoying by-product, and it’s an ongoing battle to combat it. Another by-product of the Internet in offices is ‘Cyberslacking’. A recent survey in the UK showed that the average employee uses up 57 minutes a day, illicitly surfing at their desk.
Advertising and marketing on the Internet is a whole industry in itself. It’s value for money, when you consider how many people are being reached, and the most effective means of targeting certain categories of people. Users announce their interests and marketing companies make use of that information. Web sites exist for every product under the sun, and a prominent search engine position is worth its weight in gold. Some companies use banner advertising and pop up ads to get our attention. It’s a fiercely competitive market. Strategic advertising will combine television, press and Internet marketing, presenting a unified brand image.
Weblogs, or ‘blogs’, are increasingly popular, and some organizations welcome their staff running a blog detailing product information, in order to appeal to prospective customers who will then be directed to the blogger’s company.
Use of the Internet and the World Wide Web, has enabled some employees to work remotely from home, known as telecommuting. A lot of companies find this is an efficient way for their staff to operate, as they are away from office distractions and don’t get held up on the freeways. It’s not for everyone. Often, people miss the social contact they get at the workplace, that good old gossip round the water cooler. Also, staff can be in constant contact, via email, with the office. This can be considered a good or a bad thing! Security has to be a consideration, when employing staff who work remotely. There have been cases of companies suffering security breaches in this way, and the same security protocols must be observed, whether employees are at their desk or on the beach with a laptop.