mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

The internet really does change everything...

After the flameout of 1999, it became fashionable for people to bash the internet as not living up to it's promises. People would find the worst possible business ideas that failed, like selling pet food online or selling used cars to people online sight unseen, and then point to it as proof that the internet wasn't all it's cracked up to be.

Of course, the internet has changed many forms of shopping - I never used to buy books, but now I regularly buy the used from Selling on eBay has become a second job to me, and millions of other people. Even when I buy stuff at a brick and morter store, I usually research it online at sites like FatWallet first. And some very innovative business ideas - like woot and Daily Deal could not exist without the internet. Furthermore, email has revolutionized communication - I stay in touch with people I probably wouldn't without it, it lets me easily communicate with my parents who live several hundred miles away, and it changes the dynamics of the workplace in terms of interaction with coworkers and customers alike. And blogs are changing the way that people get news, giving pajama-wearing nerds equal footing with big news corporations.

Why do I bring this up? Becuase the
Amazon Red Cross Tsunami fund
has, at this writing, raised over $3.2 million dollars from over 55,000 people in one day. I find that amazing. Part of that is how generous people are - even much-despised Americans. But part of this is how easy the internet makes it to donate money. If you are a registered Amazon customer, a few clicks and you've donated money. No trying to find the address of the nearest red cross chapter, writing out a check, hunting down a stamp, and dragging your butt to the post office - 3 clicks and you are done. And you can give small amounts - the amazon collection starts at $5. If you want to give a small amount, you might feel intimidated giving in person or by mail, but not anonymously.

I'm not a terribly generous person, but even I made a small donation, and I might give more later to other charities. It's so easy that it's hard to justify not giving. Without the internet, it's hard to imagine that so many people would give so much so quickly, but the 'net mobiblizes people in a way that they haven't been before.


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