I remember when I first experienced the power of the Internet. I was in middle school hanging out with a friend. We decided to use the computer in my father’s office and got online to chat. Of course that led to starting trouble within the chat room and getting kicked out, but the feeling of connecting (even if it was very juvenile and idiotic) was lasting.
Well both myself and the internet have evolved since then (thankfully). We are in the midst of Web 2.0. I mean, look at who Time’s person of the year in 2006 was- it was me, or was it you?
Now you can sell your handmade t-shirts to someone in California, post a video so millions can see it, raise money for a certain candidate or cause or even connect with a classmate that now lives in Boston.
Lets look at few of these powerful aspects, some general and specific, of being online and postulate on where it is all going.
Facebook and MySpace. Social sites are amazing! They allow you to connect with potential clients, friends, employers or employees. Careers have been launched through MySpace with relative quickness, something that would have taken much longer through more traditional means.
Personally I have connected with some friends from school over Facebook and learned of developments within their lives as well as forging new venues and relationships for my work.
Digg. A giant content source! Easily the one and only place you need to go to find out what is happening in your area of interest. Or simply stop by the homepage and see what is hot around the world. This has brought issues and ideas to the forefront and continues to prove that the masses will be heard. I am always inspired when I read through the Science section as well as Images. With the amount of people submitting content and rating you don’t get anything but the best.
StumbleUpon. I find new interesting sites and content all the time with this tool, right from the comfort of my browser tool bar. This social tool was built for discovering sites that are recommended by your like minded users. Jake just posted a great article about harnessing the power of local searching within StumbleUpon.
The site allows for networking and the toolbar allows for finding and discovering new great content on the web. This is a powerful combination of Internet function and social web.
YouTube. This community has amazing potential for sparking ideas and movements. Some very passionate people are creating videos not just for songs or commercials, those are great too, but for change and doing things many newspapers or journalists wouldn’t dare do.
For each word you get right, we donate 20 grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Program.
Google. Where would we be without it? I have used it maybe 30 times today alone. The ease of differing to the search engine when a question or a need arises, a debate or thought has us stumped is amazing.My one friend, not the trouble-maker, would say “lets ask the magic box!” whenever we would get into a disagreement on something-anything. We don’t even need to own a dictionary or an encyclopedia these days.
Improving on our personal lives is another area where the web has excelled. Sites like Lifehack.org, ririan project and Zen Habits all provide information and resources to being more productive and improving upon our lives.
With so many personal opinions and voices out there, more able to reach a wide and diverse audience, we are having to rely less on corporate news and bloggers are being taken seriously. Blogging just may be the single best way to communicate and interact online. Public speaking for Internet. And did you know blogging is good for your health?
This may seem obvious, but with the ease and simplicity to buy products and services online more people are able to benefit. The elderly are especially beneficial because of mobility and health issues that may otherwise not allow them to drive their car 12 miles to the mall.
Consumer information and reviews is also a valuable addition to the shopping experience. The ability to find reliable reviews and ratings from like minded people makes your decisions and shopping more informed and accurate.
Sites like ebay and Craig’s List also create a huge opportunity for people to connect and exchange, sell or simply get together for events and activities. I have personally bought a good amount of film from Ebay and for a lot cheaper than if I would have bought it directly from a store. I also sold a computer and a couch using Craig’s List.
This is one of those resources that has tremendous value to educators and the arts. Access to information and images is so helpful to progress of education and culture. Some sites have vast amounts of additional resources such as podcasts, videos and photography in addition to text.
Look at one of my favorites, the Philadelphia Museum of Art. You can view some of the exhibits and learn more with supplemental information.
With the progresses being made everyday within the fields of technology and social intelligence it would seem like brighter days are in our future online. There are many pitfalls and predators on the Internet and I would love to see more accountibilty put in place for users. Viruses, pornography, scams and stalkers are all bad things in my opinion for the Internet simply because age is not really distinguished. SPAM is another issue altogether that makes life difficult online, not to mention clogs up your inbox daily. Some people see real value in the Internet while others see liability.
I feel that the power of having the Internet at my disposal is such People seem to want to connect and learn from each other. Word of mouth is still the best form of advertisement. As our altruistic, whether your nice because you want to be treated nicely or not, nature grows online lets hope the rest of our lives off line catch up.
Now I ask you, what do you think is the best thing going for the Internet and why?
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