Computers were originally invented to do fast and accurate computations -- hence the name "computers." Now they are mostly used for different purposes. Most people -- especially young people -- use them almost exclusively for social networking. Writers use computers for the same purpose that writers once used typewriters. Businesses use computers to replace work staff that once did the most-boring jobs.
Computers are still used for computing, and they have made it easier for everyone. Mathematicians and scientists can write programs that make the computer do any complex calculation that they can describe. Computers also make calculations very easy for the rest of us. If you want to convert Fahrenheit to centigrade or inches to meters, the Internet has pages where you can enter one value and press a button to get the conversion. Some search engines even allow you to enter complex calculations into the search window and it will return the answer, just like old-fashioned calculators.
When computers were first being developed during the 1940s, few people would have guessed that they would be used primarily for communication by the end of the century. Today you can stake out a free web presence on a social networking site, send free letters (email), and even send short text messages while walking or waiting in line. The fact that all of these services are free is a large part of the reason for their rise in popularity. Social networking is so popular with young people that some of them spend more time talking online than offline.
Writers, and all those who write a lot, use the computer primarily for creating prose -- much the same way that people once used typewriters. The computer is, however, much better than the system it replaced. You can move text around, include text from one source in another document, change type font and a thousand other things that would have amazed writers a century ago. You are also connected -- via the Internet -- to libraries all over the world. Research is much faster and easier then it was for writers in the past. You can also get your assignments, do your work, send it in and even get paid on the computer -- without leaving your room or licking one stamp.
Running a Business
Running a business without a computer is almost unimaginable. For a very small business, the computer replaces the secretary and bookkeeper immediately. It simplifies tasks like inventory and catalog production. It also lets you see what your competitors are doing and what is new in your field. Most shoppers today will look online before they even go to a store, and if your business is not online it might as well not exist for these shoppers. This is especially true for tourist, those who are new in town or for comparison shoppers. If you put your catalog online, it not only attracts customers who want what you are selling, in helps to insure that the people who come in to your business buy something, because they knew before they walked in the door what you are selling.