Life, the Universe and the Internet

Hi! Remember a few weeks back when Rob was looking for some blogging help? We got in touch and he's letting me hang out here for awhile. My name is Lori and I spend my days working for a traditional Advertising agency, leading Pharmaceutical and Health clients into the Digital age. So I will be blogging about similar things that you are used to seeing here: business, leadership, strategy and marketing. But with a distinctively feminine point-of-view :)

Which leads me to an email invitation I received about a week ago from the Pew Internet and American Life project. Pew is an NPO with an ambitious mission to:

produce reports that explore the impact of the Internet on families, communities, work and home, daily life, education, health care, and civic and political life. The Project aims to be an authoritative source on the evolution of the Internet through collection of data and analysis of real-world developments as they affect the virtual world

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What intrigued me was the survey they asked me to fill out about my own personal history of internet use. In trying to understand how the Internet has impacted my life, it made me realize how much things have changed (and other things have remained the same).

Let me share some of the questions with you:

1. When were you introduced to the Internet? How did it happen?
For me it was in 1990, my last year at University. Some of my friends were IT majors and they had been communicating with IT profs around the world. I was asking about an esoteric Dutch film director (I was Film major), and one of the guys found a link to the information in about 2 seconds. I was hooked.

2. What applications got you really excited the first time you tried them?
Email (well, duh), RSS feeds, IM/video.

3. Thinking back to the first time you bought something online, what product or service was your first purchase?
A book. Now there's a shocker!

4. What role did the Internet play in the most recent of these milestones: made a major investment or financial decision, started a new hobby, changed jobs, found a place to live, started a serious romantic relationship, became involved in a political campaign or organization?
It is interesting to think about how significant the impact has been in some areas of one's life, but less so in other areas. When I first returned to the US in late 1997, I remember being frustrated at the lack of employment sites online as I started my job search. And yet today I don't know anyone who looks in the paper anymore — do you?

5. Has your internet usage increased or decreased with time? What is a key driver as to the amount of time you spend online?
Increased at the expense of other media. I watch much less television and read less magazines. I don't read the newspaper at all because I get the NYT and WSJ podcasts.

6. Have you found the Internet easier or harder to use as time goes by?
Both. Easier to navigate but harder to choose which sites since there are so many good ones, especially with the rise of blogs.

7. What is the most amazing thing that has ever happened to you while you were online? It could be a story about how something on the Web changed your life, something interesting you discovered on the Web, or something really important or even really amusing that happened during an email exchange.
Introducing my third child to her grandparents for the first time.

How would you answer these questions? Feel free to post your responses in the comments section.