How we interact and socialize has changed over the past 5 to 10 years. The wide spread use of internet had a major role in this.
I remember the time when sending letters was the only way to communicate with friends and relatives residing in other islands. That was quite recent (I’m not that old :P). This was the only mode of communication in Maldives for a long time, until telephone service was introduced in the capital (Male’) and it took few more years to provide this service to residents in other islands. Internet service was launched in late 90s and is now available on all inhabited islands through out Maldives. Dhiraagu, a joint venture company between Government of Maldives (65%) and Cable & Wireless Plc (35%) of United Kingdom, monopolized the telecommunication market in Maldives; to some extent, they still are. Dhiraagu is the only fixed-line telephone service provider in Maldives. Dhiraagu was also the only Internet Service Provider and Mobile Phone Operator until government issued second ISP license to Focus Infocom in mid 2003, and Wataniya Telecom Maldives was issued a license for providing Mobile Phone Service. There have been rumours about a new ISP since 2006, but we haven’t seen this happening yet.
According to Maldives Internet Usage and Telecommunication Report on Internet World Stats (www.internetworldstats.com), 2.1% of the population (6,000) used internet in 2000, 6.4% in 2005 (19,000), and 6.6% in 2007 (20,100). I believe there would be atleast 40,000 to 50,000 internet users in Maldives today.
Do you have any idea how crazy we’d get without having internet access today? I have experienced it and I’m sure some of you would have had that experience as well. It’s a nightmare. I don’t want that that to happen to any of you. It’s our virtual world. It’s our sixth sense. It’s worse than losing any other senses like, eye sight or hearing. Even if you’re blind u can still live in the real world and virtual world. Even if you’re deaf, you still wouldn’t have a problem. However, if your connection to the virtual world is gone (as if you’re not getting it back), how worse could that be? Internet is a part of our everyday life now. A lot of people would agree with me on this.
How much has internet affected our everyday life. Instead of sending letter, we use email now. We talk to friends using instant messaging more than we talk over the phone. Instead of chatting on “Holhuashi’ we post our ideas, feelings, and concerns on blogs and online forums. We spend more time socializing on the internet than we do in the real world. Facebook is a major hit. There are more than 10,000 on the Maldives network in Facebook which shows how much our small community is into socializing on the internet. Most of you reading this article would have a facebook account and some of you might be members of other social websites like Hi5.
How many of you have thought how much technology has changed the way we do things? It has changed a lot, isn’t it? You don’t have to watch the news to get weather forecast. You don’t necessarily have to go to the bank and queue up to get your bank balance or to transfer money. You can do all that online now. What can’t you do online? Anything you can’t do now would be possible in a few years time. Hehe. Yeah. It’s true.
Everyone who uses Internet has an online life and an offline life. As the name implies, online life is the time we spend on the internet breathing, eating, living, drinking, and smoking in the virtual life while offline life is the normal life living the world. Even though it might sounds crazy, that’s the reality. Most people are so different in their online and offline lives. There might be similarities but it’s mostly different.
So, bottom-line here is life would be so hard without internet. Forget about the time when we didn’t have internet. As we have it now and use it everyday, it would be totally a disaster not to have it or even to think about not having it. How many companies would go bankrupt without internet? The disaster that would be caused by internet going down is inevitable. How much would it affect our personal lives? How many of you have dated online. It’s so common these days. I’ve friends who met socializing online and got married later. That’s so cool! In 80s none of us would even think about that possibility. It’s happening now. Online dating is so famous in developed countries as well.
Maldivians love technology, always demand the latest technologies, and we are almost there. We are not that far behind more developed countries. Don’t you want a future where you can do absolutely anything while sitting on your ass? Hehe…There are technological advancements we could never have dreamed of, and yet a lot more to be discovered. Life without internet would suck BIG-time.
Enjoy your life: both of ’em