Everyone is always talking about all the bad stuff online. I know that’s the job of the news agencies - they get paid to scare us - but millions of people still travel to cyberspace every day.
There's got to be a good reason, right?
The reason in some cases is hard to figure out - cyberbullying, online hate crimes and destructive websites come to mind. I suppose it's all a part of the human experience and at least we can actively choose not to visit those portions of the web we find disturbing. I find some peoples obsession with TMZ.com disturbing so that proves it's all a matter of relevance.
For all the current and potential pitfalls and dangerous information to be found, there are several reasons I am a huge fan of the internet and in some cases, don't wish to remember all that well what life was like without it. In the next series of posts I will be discussing those reasons starting now with:
The older I get and the more folks I meet in this world, the more I realize my sales coach was completely right when he told us that most clients, indeed anyone we meet casually, is statistically going to be less 'like' us than like us.
When we were young, like my daughter is now, friends were easy to make. You both liked a certain toy, or the same show or even bonded over walking home or riding the same bus together. As she grows up she will come into contact with so many different things and her tastes and likes will change probably as many times as her future career choices.
How refreshing to know she will be able to do research on whatever she needs to without fear of being laughed at or possibly just as frustrating - dumb looks from people who have no idea what she's talking about. Any personal shame or fear about a particular subject doesn't get shared with anyone and we're pretty sure Google won’t tell. (So long as you clear your browser history, of course)
As for me, I'm already smack in the middle of this ride called life but the internet has opened up whole new worlds for me, figuratively and literally. I thought about having a pen pal in another country and even did for a brief time when I was younger. Now? I get on my instant messenger the right time of day and I am talking to an online friend in Italy. Or England. Even Australia, though in all fairness that would be the right time of night!
I didn't meet these people randomly and I have plenty of friends that are here in the United States I've never met, either. I may, someday, but it's not necessary.
I don't know them because I want their opinion on shoes or to discuss the latest episode of some show inevitably most of the workers in any given office I happen to be in are discussing. Why? Because I usually despise those shows and far as shoes are concerned I go for comfort over anything else. Except boots. But boots are totally different, right?
Bottom line; I’m not the average-Nielsen-rating sort of normal. In fact, quite a number of the shows I faithfully watch aren't produced in the United States. The folks in the office aren't talking about them because they don't know they exist. I don't spend my Sunday afternoons lying on the beach, shopping or even with my family. (That's Saturday) Sundays for me are spent around a big table playing old-fashioned Dungeons and Dragons complete with dice. I go to science fiction conventions and occasionally, I even wear costumes. I participate in medieval recreation as a hobby - not just once-a-year when the Renaissance Faire comes into town.
I love the internet because while I was growing up we didn't have it. Even at a table of admitted nerds, I was the only one who really, REALLY liked Star Wars. I couldn't believe I was the only one in the whole state, let alone the whole world, who felt that way.
And then I got online - and nothing feels better than knowing you were right. Except perhaps, knowing you're not alone.
Photo Courtesy of Official Star Wars Blog on Flickr