Impact of the Internet on Business (and Life)

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with 406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker/REALTOR® RRE-BRO-LIC-75443

This month's ActiveRain challenge is entitled "Things we have lost to the Internet." The instructions are to write about the biggest change the Internet has made on our business.

I am not going to be focusing on how the Internet has changed my real estate business, since I am one of those who joined real estate after computers were readily available and phones were more than phones. So instead, I'm going to share a few thoughts that popped into my head when I think of how the Internet has changed life over the years. And these are just a few examples.

When I first started working in the late 1970's, technology was much different than it is today. For example:

Typing:

Then:

We used to use manual typewriters where you would type a line of text, then push the carriage over to the left (with a resounding "bing") and then type the next line. We'd have liquid paper nearby in case we made a mistake. And we'd have to use  carbon paper in between sheets of paper if we were going to need to keep copies. And if we made a mistake we'd have to whiteout each page before fixing. Accuracy counted!

In between then and now:

I was thrilled to use my first electric typewriter where you didn't have to stop at the end of a line of text but could keep going. AND you could even backup and correct a mis-typed word.  This made typing much easier! But you'd still have to do every document separately. In other words, it wasn't a word processing machine, but rather just a typewriter made easier.

And then there was the Mag Card machine! This was very similar to an IBM Selectric typewriter, but it was actually a word processing marvel at the time. If there was a letter we would need to type multiple times but with changes to the address, or dates or other details, we could type the template and save it on a magnetic card. The next time we were going to type the same letter, we would put the card in, make whatever changes we needed, and it would print out on the paper. That was a huge step forward for those of us who needed to type documents!

But there was still no "internet" - so how did the Internet change this simple task?

Now:

There are desktop computers, laptop computers, tablet devices and phones, all of which are capable of allowing us to easily write letters or documents of any kind. If we type with a keyboard, anytime we make an error, a red line lets us know we goofed. We can easily go back and fix things, change the order of words, remove or add paragraphs. Once whatever we are preparing is complete, then we can decide whether to print it, and if we do, how many copies and which pages. Not only is accuracy no longer necessary, it is also not important to have an outline ready before hand. Just let the words flow. AND not only do you not have to be accurate, you don't even have to type anymore. Many of our tools allow us to use our voice to do the typing. Now that's a big difference!

(Note: While the above didn't specifically refer the Internet, the devices that are used to type now were developed because of the Internet. For example, computers are what the Internet runs on, and are how we access the Internet data!)

 

Telephone:

Then:

Imagine this! A telephone was a relatively heavy device that either sat on a desk or was attached to the wall. There was a handset that you would hold up to your ear to listen and talk. And there was a wire that connected the handset to the actual telephone device.

When someone wanted to call you, they'd usually look your phone number up in a phone book. That was this very large paper book that was published by Ma Bell (the specific company depended on where you lived). You'd search for people's last name in alphabetical order, and their first names in alphabetical order. Then you'd use the phone to dial the seven-digit number. Dial means  you'd stick your finger in the hole next to "8" for example to dial the number 8. And the dial would click 8 times as it went around the circle. Then you'd pick your next number.

Once you got on the phone and were talking to someone, no one else could call your number. If they tried to call, they'd get a "busy" signal. And they wouldn't be able to get through until you hung up. There was no way to leave a message.

Oh and if you were sitting at the dinner table with your family and the phone rang? Well, in my house you weren't allowed to get the phone during dinner time. And there was no way to know who was calling. And there was no such thing as an answering machine. So you'd let the phone ring and wonder who it was and whether they would call back.

Oh, and there was no such thing as privacy. The phone was not usually movable so you'd have to talk in front of whoever was around. Whispering was not uncommon.

Imagine?

 

Now:

We walk around with a device in our pocket that's smaller than a deck of cards. If we want to talk to someone (and we no longer have to), we can pull the phone out, hit the voice icon, and say "Call Charlie" and the phone will dial a number for us that we no longer have to memorize. If Charlie isn't there, he'll know we called even if we don't leave a message because he'll see (at a minimum) our number flash on the phone. Or he'll see our picture and our name.

If we don't feel like talking but want to say something, we can just send a quick text message. Or if we want to talk to someone AND see them, we can use the video options. If we want privacy we can take the call wherever we want. But the craziest thing of all? It's not a phone we're talking on. It's our own personal computer that we keep in our pocket.

Because not only can we talk to someone and leave a message, but we can: sign documents, look up football scores, watch a video, make a video, listen to music, take a photo, open a lockbox, find a restaurant, read reviews, do social media, find out what altitude we're at, get directions, watch the news, check the weather forecast, connect to a drone, manage our calendar, look up a plant or footprint to find out what it is and check email -- to name just a FEW of the options available to us.

Wow....

I have a million more thoughts about what technology and the Internet have done... but I'm going to switch gears just a bit and turn to:

 

Dating

Then:

You basically met someone to date in one of two ways.

First, you would meet them in person. You might meet a potential dating partner at church, the store, school, work, or at an event. And in the old days, you might be first attracted to them physically or verbally. Maybe they said something you thought was interesting and you wanted to know more. Or maybe they were hunky or hot and you wanted to get to know them better. But it was all done in person and in "real" life.

Second option, someone introduced you. Your family or friends would know of someone and you either met in person before the first date, or you met on a "blind" date after being assured this person had a 'great personality!" So you'd meet for dinner or something else and get to know each other a little bit. More often than not, these get-togethers didn't seem to work too well, but once in a while they did.

And that was typically it! But what this meant is that everyone you had the chance to meet was usually from your area, or in some way had something in common in terms of workplace, etc. Your options to meet people in other locations or in other industries was relatively small.

 

Now:

While the above options are still in play, there are many more ways to meet a potential significant other now that we have the Internet.

For one, because we are connected to people around the world through the Internet and various devices, we could get to know someone without ever meeting in person. All of us on ActiveRain know how well we now know people we have never met. We can talk on the phone, write emails, write our thoughts that can be seen by anyone, talk on zoom, etc.  Love can also blossom through the same methods. Perhaps we are working in an organization with multiple locations and we deal with someone on a regular basis in another state. A few work-related video conversations could turn into a desire to learn more and before you know it there are sparks flying over those Internet lines.

And you don't even have to have a work or school connection to find love. Because of the Internet there are many different dating sites which allow people who might be in totally different fields or live in different locations, to find each other.  Perhaps people who wouldn't ever have met had it not been for a profile on EHarmony.com, match.com, Tinder, OKCupid or any one of a huge selection of dating sites that are only possible because of the Internet.

I should know. I met my husband, a seafaring, boat building, novel writing, hiker of a college professor who lived an hour north of me through EHarmony. As a corporate manager raising two teenagers with a very busy and hectic life, we probably wouldn't have met without this Internet tool (although apparently we were both in the same spot for a week in the late 1970s and probably walked right by each other). So the Internet certainly made the odds of us meeting a lot better.

 

Summary

So is the Internet a good thing or bad thing?

In general, I think the opportunities presented by the Internet in terms of business and life are positive. What's not always positive is the way humans have reacted to those technological changes. For example, things like knowing how to spell are often no longer important because machines tell us how to spell. I don't think that's a good thing. Along the same vein, I've noticed that many cashiers don't know how to subtract $4.72 from $5.00 because Internet-connected machines tell them how much change to give so they don't need to learn math. That's not good either. And many people tend to pay attention to their phones INSTEAD of the people they are with. That's definitely not good. And instead of going out and exploring, many people just jump into their devices and pull up a YouTube video. Not good.

So while the options now available to us through this thing called the Internet can be amazing, we all should set boundaries regarding their use, so we have plenty of time left to learn, grow, explore and meet people in the "real world." That's where life really happens.

And that is my entry to ActiveRain's Things we have lost to the Internet challenge.

Comments (53)

Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Kat. With the good comes the bad! Sorting it out is a personal challenge and different for everyone. Enjoy your day!

Jan 30, 2022 05:21 AM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Hi Kat - I certainly do relate to every one of your points, the typewriter, the phone, and even dating.  I tried computer dating but it didn't work for me.  I met Phyllis at work.

Jan 30, 2022 05:29 AM
Ed Silva
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

Even though we may have viewed each change with caution when originally presented, it was seen eventually for the boon it brought to our lives.  The Internet made the world smaller, but it also made our lives easier

Jan 30, 2022 06:29 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Actually, Bob "RealMan" Timm - I don't remember that! But I can certainly see the wisdom of low numbers. I guess 0 was a real no-no.

I agree with you Wayne Martin - we all see the pluses and minuses differently.

That's great that you met her at work Grant Schneider !!

 

Jan 30, 2022 06:37 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

I agree Ed Silva - So this has nothing to do with the Internet, but is interesting none-the-less. A friend was overseas in Europe, and saw someone wearing a high-school jacket with a familiar name across the back. Then she went up to the person and she saw an even more familiar name on the front. It turns out one of my step-sons high school jacket was being worn by someone who lived in Germany who bought it at a sale somewhere. What are the odds? Now that's a small world!

Jan 30, 2022 06:40 AM
Ed Silva

Kat Palmiotti   The only thing that could have made it better was a familiar face

Jan 30, 2022 06:44 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Hi Kat Palmiotti ,

I'm so glad that Kathy Streib featured your post in her "Ah-ha" moments for the week as I missed it.  So many things hit home. I met my Geno at the office after he retired and moved back to Austin from NYC.

Jan 30, 2022 07:07 AM
Carla Freund
Keller Williams Preferred Realty - Raleigh, NC
Carolina Life RealEstate & Relocation 919-602-8489

Very good Kat. I have lived through some of these changes too and will have to try to make the deadline for the January challenge. Btw, my Real Estate office kept a "word processor" typewriter in the office in case we need to type labels etc. This was around 2008-2009. My daughter came to the office with me and she pointed to it and asked me what it was. I had to laugh. I took  typing in middle school when the goal was to type 40 wpm without typos. In high school we had Apple computers but we were ahead of other schools. We had 1 computer in the office when I started working for a mortgage company. Only two of us knew how to use it. Times have really changed!

Jan 30, 2022 07:16 AM
Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

Great post Kat Palmiotti I could never use a dating app but good for you I just read and watch too many murders and serial  killer books and movies -- sorry I missed this and glad Kathy Streib  featured

Jan 30, 2022 07:24 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Dorie Dillard Austin TX - The office/work is definitely a popular place to meet a significant other!

Times sure have changed Carla Freund !!!  Now we carry our computers in our pocket!

Thank you for commenting Hannah Williams ! Staying safe in the world of online dating is similar to staying safe on a day to day basis. Get familiar with the person first. Research them. Meet them in public. etc etc.

Jan 30, 2022 08:17 AM
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Meeting your hubby has to be a huge gift from technology. I really enjoyed reading your post, Kat. 

Jan 30, 2022 08:39 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Kat:

What a fun journey, with plenty of positive and some negative aspects to all the changes that have occurred.  I can certainly relate to much of what you said about typing, faxing, and our phones. I remember my wife, who worked for several tech companies, telling her Mom that one day she would be able to talk to someone on the phone and see them at the same time, and she couldn't believe it. She did live to see that day!!

Jeff

Jan 30, 2022 01:08 PM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Thank you Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD !!!

Jeff Dowler, CRS - I remember when someone told me we were going to be able to watch movies on our TV - (via DVDs) and I said no way!!! haha

Jan 30, 2022 03:23 PM
Aura Alex
CloseMyDeal, LLC - Seattle, WA
Need A TC? Virtual TC Services Nationwide

Hi, Kat Palmiotti; it was a wake-up call for me when my daughter told me she had found my long-lost siblings in my old country and other relatives I had never met or knew existed via Facebook! 

Jan 31, 2022 11:22 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Aura Alex - we can find almost anyone online!

Jan 31, 2022 01:47 PM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Kat, This is a superb entry into the January contest. This post could make a half dozen stand-alone blogs. Fun reading and remembering it all!

You can find a spouse and a house in the same place. Yes, times have changed.

Jan 31, 2022 09:45 PM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400 - I love the rhyme! The Internet: The Place to find a House and a Spouse

Feb 01, 2022 05:22 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

OH my gosh, so many similar thoughts this past month as I prepared to write my post, Kat! You have brought so many memories back to me. I shared this with Ray when this challenge first started but, my Dad's parents had a garage apartment that they rented out to one incredibly lucky college student each year. My MawMaw was a gourmet chef and cooked all meals for the student - did I say one LUCKY student?!

They cleaned, repaired, updated and basically spent the summers preparing this apartment for the student over the summer. I spent summers with my grands (both sets) and absolutely LOVED my 'cool' time in the garage apartment, which was furnished AND it had a typewriter on the desk for the student renter. Yes, it had a TYPEWRITER!!! 

I thought I was SO cool, pretending I was in college - and playing with the typewriter (which my mother would never let me do at home)!

That was going to be one of my stories in my entry but, I ran out of time/space on challenge post - I could have gone on forever! I even had a picture ready to share...

 



Thank you so much for putting a smile in my heart. I have such amazing childhood memories with my grandparents. I miss how simple life was and how much fun we had together as a family, with cousins, friends and their great neighbors when I was little. ❤️

Feb 01, 2022 09:36 PM
Jan Green

Very cool!

Feb 03, 2022 07:47 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

I love that story, Debe Maxwell, CRS and think that could make a wonderful post, regardless of challenges!

By the way, those ribbons were a pain in the butt (on the typewriter). They'd get tangled or would not sit properly!

Feb 02, 2022 04:48 AM
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

GREAT post Kat!  Wow - you met your hubby on E-Harmony - very cool.  My youngest met her hubby on Tinder.  It takes that kind of matching to find the one.  I so remember those days of typewriters - very clunky!

Feb 03, 2022 07:47 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Hi Jan Green - yes, I sure did! Every time the commercial comes on TV we say, "Nahh, that never works!" and then we laugh.

Feb 03, 2022 01:14 PM