The other week, I attended the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) Annual Banquet in McLean, VA. I have been a member of NAWBO for many years and I really enjoy attending their events, programs, and monthly luncheons. As a small business owner, the connections and relationships I’ve made through NAWBO have been invaluable!
At the annual banquet, we heard from keynote speaker, Commissioner Mignon Clyburn of the Federal Communications Commission. She is an extremely remarkable and well-spoken woman who has accomplished so much, not only in her life, but also during her term as Commissioner since 2009.
Mignon Clyburn made a statement during her speech that essentially summed up the main point of her talk. Some of you have probably heard this statement before. She said,
“The internet is no longer a luxury. It is a necessity.”
We take it for granted that everyone has access to the Internet, but in reality they don’t. As business owners and marketers, it is critical that we stay in touch with the conversation and debate that is happening around Internet costs, freedoms and accessibility.
Mignon brought up some very interesting points about the Internet, access, and availability in the U.S. and I wanted to share them with you. She focused on increased access to Internet that would improve lives in 3 particular areas:
I remember when we got our updated encyclopedias and how exciting it was to look through all the information (yes, sigh, I am that old). Today, the Internet gives users access to information, online education, university courses, and resources that they would not have otherwise. From grade school, kids are being introduced to online assignments and tracking with applications like Blackboard, which they will continue to use into and throughout college, and even as parents. The Millennials, (Gen Y) are digital natives and the Internet is their source and primary exposure to new information, news and current events.
Not only does the Internet open up educational opportunities, but it also can help people find jobs and employment. Many job applications are found and completed online, and third-party sites such as Monster, CareerBuilder, Indeed.com, and Glassdoor give users the opportunity to search jobs in their field and apply directly. Utilizing the Internet for job searching, networking and connecting, like on LinkedIn, is a huge advantage that many people don’t realize or overlook.
Small business start-ups are at an all time high because you can be an entrepreneur and find new sources for income as long as you have access. People without Internet access are missing out on E-commerce opportunities. They have no way of purchasing or trading online, and they also don’t have the ability to sell or re-sell their products online through their own websites or popular sites like eBay. Increased access to the Internet could really boost our economy (in a time when we could all really use a lift!)
Relationships & Connections
On a more personal level, the Internet makes it easy to keep in touch with friends, family, and loved ones. Whether it is through email updates, social media, or photo sharing, the Internet allows us to stay connected to the important people in our life, regardless of location or time zone. Staying in contact and up-to-date with friends and family is so important – in fact, it makes us happier and healthier people overall. Although nothing can replace regular face-to-face interaction, the Internet has been a huge tool for family and friends to stay connected in their busy lives.
It’s amazing to me how the Internet has become such a crucial part of our daily lives in a relatively short amount of time. Whether you use it for business or pleasure (or both), there is no denying the impact that “The World Wide Web” has had on our lives and culture.
We often forget that Internet services come at a price. Not everyone in our country (or in other parts of the world) can afford or access the Internet, which puts him or her at risk for falling several steps behind. Our world moves at such a fast pace and is so heavily reliant on the Internet and technology. Think about all of those work emails, video chats, file transfers and online systems that you deal with each day. Now imagine not having access to those tools. That would be a problem, don’t you think?
What do you think about the idea of Internet being a necessity? How else does the Internet help or improve your everyday life? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!