From the earliest days of the internet, the goal was always to break down barriers. The pioneers of the World Wide Web were vocal in their desire to see a digital space wholly unconstrained by national borders and geographic distance, where people anywhere could be brought together through a connection to the information superhighway.
While the era of the borderless internet may no longer be what it once was, we should not diminish the paradigm-shifting ways in which the internet actually did achieve those early goals. Let’s take a look at some of the ways the internet has broken down international borders and continues to do so.
Nowhere has the border-erasing impact of the internet been made more apparent than in the realm of popular culture. Thanks to the internet, people everywhere can consume culture from a specific part of the world, bringing artists who might have remained unknown outside their country into the realm of global superstardom. For example, the phenomenon of K-Pop superstars would simply not have been possible without the internet. The same goes for the likes of Olivia Rodrigo or PinkPanteress, who turned their social media videos into global pop careers virtually overnight.
A more surprising way that the internet has broken down borders concerns certain events and competitions once considered to be strictly domestic affairs. Nowhere is this clearer than in the realm of the lottery. This game was once considered to be inextricably tied to its national context, no matter where you were. However, thanks to international lottery platforms such as Lottoland, you can play the lottery of any country anywhere and check the official lottery results from your smartphone.
One of the greatest impacts of the internet that is still unfolding is the impact it has had on the global financial system. Before the internet, sending money from, say, the UK to the US was a time-consuming and very expensive affair. However, the internet has enabled the rise of borderless payment apps such as PayPal, Revolut, Monzo, and Venmo, through which anyone can send money anywhere in any currency, often within seconds and without spending a penny.
Once upon a time, your friends were the people in your immediate physical surroundings. Friends came from our workplaces and our local social scenes, and only those with a pen pal or who spent time living abroad could claim to have friends in other countries. However, that has all changed forever. Nowadays, the majority of people have friends in other countries, many in places that they have never even visited. This is all thanks to the internet, with social media and blogging platforms allowing anyone to find connections, unconstrained by the old limits of geography.
It is difficult to quantify the impact that the internet has had on our lives. Of all the things that it has enabled, its ability to make our world a much smaller place is probably the most impactful.