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How These Five Industries Were Changed Forever By The Internet

Updated on July 26, 2013

Can you imagine the world and our lives without the internet? To be perfectly honest, I cannot. In the last 15 years, the world wide web has changed our culture. Our lives have become intertwined with the internet. It effects us all everyday. Due to its effectiveness and convenience, many once popular industries find themselves on the ropes, struggling to keep up and survive. Here's a rundown of five industrial industries that the web has changed forever.

1. The United States Postal Service

Who would've thought that the mailman's job would be in jeopardy? The kid in all of us, remembers the excitement of seeing the mail truck getting closer to your house. Having the carrier put those various envelopes and magazines in your hands was a big deal! Fast forward to adulthood, I rarely care if I ever see the mailman, let alone take the hand delivery. My mailbox is checked about twice a week. It's almost running over in useless junk. "Why", you may ask? I now pay most of my bills online. No paper checks to write or envelopes to mail out. It can be done at any time of the day, from anywhere, and all you need is an internet connection. You shouldn't have any trouble finding one. The majority of Americans have followed suit. Due to decreased demand, the postal service has been forced to shutter some offices and reduce the workforce. There was even talk about the service stopping all delivery on Saturday. There is a saving grace or two for the USPS. There will always be a need to send and receive packages. Also, many baby boomers and elderly citizens don't rely on the web, as much as younger people do. Though it's relevance has been reduced, the postal service still has some life left.

2. The Music Industry

Growing up in the 1980s, I fell in love with music. Going to the local record store to buy a cassette tape was as big as it got for a youngster in elementary school. In the 90's, it was all about compact discs, or more affectionately known as CD's. Y2K, brought about a new millennium and "Napster." Napster, was the first major file sharing service. It was a gift from above. You could use your internet connection to downloads millions of songs! It sent shock waves thorough the music industry. Music stores nor the industry were ever the same. It was hard for artists to get credit for record sales. Gone were the days of artists being recognized for selling millions of copies. Big wig music execs stepped in and Napster was shut down. The damage had been done. Soon Limewire, would become the new "Napster." Too good to be true, Limewire, was shutdown as well. All over the internet that are many site promising free downloads. Some of these sites are dangerous and illegal. We all know the greatness of iTunes. iTunes is a paid service that is legal and won't harm whatever device you use. While I do enjoy the convenience of buying music from the web, it's not the same experience. Having no physical disc, album cover, or lyrics to read takes some of the enjoyment out of digital music. Nevertheless, you can't beat buying whatever song or album you want, whenever you want at the click of a mouse.

3. Newspapers and Print Media

Newspapers were our primary source of information for decades. Dependable and trustworthy, they were an iconic American tradition. Who doesn't remember their father or grandfather reading his paper? The key words are "father" and "grandfather." Newspapers have truly become yesterday's news. It's not that newspapers aren't valuable or don't provide good information. In today's society, papers are just too slow. Instantly, we can get breaking news all over the world wide web. There's competition in every form. Some people look forward to the sales portion of Sunday's paper. Most of the big retailers have their weekly sales ad on their site. All we could ever think about reading is a click away. To compensate for this, all major newspapers now have websites, as well. Some editions across the country have stopped the presses. Many fine writers and columnists that once wrote for their local companies are now solely online. Magazines have also suffered from the rapidness of the internet. For example, Men's Health, has the same articles, tips, and photos on their website as the magazine does. Why pay 5 bucks for the magazine, when it's on the website forever? Similar to music, some people still like the feel of the actual product in their hands. They enjoy turning the pages and some love magazines for collection purposes. While print media may never become extinct, the glory days are in the rear view mirror.

4. Movies/ Video Rental

"Be kind, please rewind." That should ring a bell for most of us over the age of 20. Going to the local video store or Blockbuster, was as American as apple pie. It was fun to look at the rows and rows of videos to choose from. Whether on VHS or DVD, video rental was a profitable business. It still is, not just in the traditional sense. Also, the Redbox, movie vending machines hurt the brick & mortar video stores as well. Suffering the same fate of the music industry, movies can be streamed via the internet. New releases can be downloaded from the web, also. At the current moment, Netflix, is the leader among sites that offer streaming. Hulu, is another major streamer as well. With an adequate internet speed, thousands of movies are available for high-definition viewing. While these services are not free, they pay for themselves quickly. The internet has provided us the comfort of enjoying movies at home without ever having to leave the couch.

5. Electronic Retailers

Years earlier, stores like Best Buy and Circuit City were the dominant electronic retailers. They were locked in a very competitive battle for the top spot. From compact discs, movies, televisions, and other major electronics, the stores were popular and full of customers. With the arrival of Amazon and ebay, big box stores were never the same. The online competitors were usually less expensive. They also offered perks such as tax free and free delivery. At the click of a mouse, the same items in the stores could be purchased on the internet. Or customers would go into the stores to see the television they wanted in the store, only to drive home and purchase it online! This hit the big boys hard. Declining sales and poor management led Circuit City to close their doors in early 2009. They've tried to resurface as an online store. While Best Buy, is surviving the tide has changed. They've had to close stores as well. Now, there's even more competition from online retailers. It's a fact, that the deals online are better. Several big box stores are now matching competitors prices to keep the consumer. Of course the economic climate is a factor but the internet as played just as an important part in the decline of these once giant franchises.

Which industry do you think was hurt most by the internet?

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    • profile image

      Johne76 3 years ago

      You're so interesting! I don't think I have read anything like this before. So wonderful to discover somebody with some unique thoughts on this subject matter. Seriously.. thank you for starting this up. This website is one thing that is needed on the internet, someone with a bit of originality! dgbfeceedgbf

    • Man of Strength profile image

      Man of Strength 4 years ago from Orlando, Fl

      @ Torrilynn

      I'm in my mid 30's and can remember when all these industries were a big deal. The world wide web has changed so much in a short amount of time.

    • torrilynn profile image

      torrilynn 4 years ago

      @ManOfStrength i can definitely see how the businesses are threatened by the internet especially the postal office and movie rentals place due to our ability of having everything online. Thanks for the read.

    • Cantuhearmescream profile image

      Cat 4 years ago from New York


      Gee, thanks! I'm so excited your going to start blogging... I'd be very curious to see it when you get something up. I'd help ya get started, but as you can see... that's not exactly my area of expertise.... but you might just motivate me to get back to it! Thank you, friend!

    • Man of Strength profile image

      Man of Strength 4 years ago from Orlando, Fl

      Hi Cat,

      You're an amazing personality. I just joined Tumblr and I'm going to try blogging. I have ZERO clue what I'm doing, but I'll find out. Thanks, friend.

    • Cantuhearmescream profile image

      Cat 4 years ago from New York

      So, what... are you calling me a hypocrite? lol... I'm just kidding... but I do complain about how technology is taking over humans and how 'media-obsessed' we are... it all kind of makes me sick. I really don't care what rich and famous people do on their Tuesday afternoon... I've got my own problems! lol...But yes, I couldn't imagine my life without my cellphone or the internet! I even have a $100 cable bill every month that I'd really rather not give up either... though probably half of my adult life I've gone without cable and survived fine.

      Oooh, encyclopedias, remember them? We actually had them on a bookshelf in my den growing up. Pretty bad, our kids probably won't even know what an encyclopedia is! That poor salesman! ha ha Speaking of salesmen... when they come to my house, I smile and let them give me their pitch and then I politely say... so are you selling something... cause I'm poor and I'm not sure if we're eating tonight and I'd really hate to waste your time. They always thank me for my time and then leave... quickly :D Hey, a job is a job and I wouldn't want that one... I give them credit!

      Oh my goodness... I started a blog shortly after coming to HP because a hubber friend of mine was hounding me to create a blog. Now I have a virgin blog with about 5-8 posts on it.... nobody wants to sleep with it! lol.. In all fairness, I spend too much time writing for HP right now to find time to do anything over there. But... I actually kind of like that idea '' I could probably find something to write about on that, every day! lol... you've got my wheels turning! (It's not worth the look... but that little head icon with all the social media icons on my profile page... leads to my 'don'twasteyourtimehere' blog :D ... and no, that's not the name of it... but it might as well be... lol ( I don't have a clue what I'm doing or how to set up my own page... it's not impressive, pathetic, but maybe worth a laugh!)

      Okay... I'm leaving now.

    • Man of Strength profile image

      Man of Strength 4 years ago from Orlando, Fl

      Hi Cat,

      Thanks again. Yes, we're almost forced to adjust to the digital age. Of course without the internet we couldn't enjoy all the talented people here on HP. I bet the encyclopedia salesman is peeved about the internet. He had a good thig going for years. I love your "", that could be an excellent blog! That's what I want to expand to next. Do you have a blog?

    • Cantuhearmescream profile image

      Cat 4 years ago from New York

      Man of Strength,

      You nailed it! I have been talking and thinking a lot about much of what you've written about. I think I violently nodded in agreement with each paragraph! :D ... When I had moved out of the area and left my life behind a couple of years ago... I used the good old fashioned telephone to try getting things back in order. I hadn't had the internet even set up yet and it was not my first priority. Every business, including the Post Office, that I called... would answer my question by telling me to 'go online at www.'! I was getting so irritated. Have they ever realized that not every human in the world is connected to the internet?

      Our Post Office has recently cut down to a 'part time' kind of situation... I don't by CD's anymore, I don't go to the movies, I get my news from the internet, TV and Radio... not papers anymore and I buy and sell on eBay! And I'm the stubborn one that doesn't want technology running my life. But it'll run away from you if you don't go along!

      Excellent hub!

      Voted up and others ~Sharing too!