September 19, 2007

"Everything I needed to know about the internet I learned from my neighborhood growing up."

The internet can be a complicated place - especially for anyone who doesn't have a lot of experience or knowledge about modern technology. Yet, despite the advancements and changes taking place online, there are still a few very simple insights that everyone already knows. Let me put it this way...

Everything I needed to know about the internet I learned from my neighborhood growing up. The internet is, after all, just one big neighborhood.

Here are some great points that you should understand when browsing around online. Even if you are an expert when it comes to internet knowledge, it's a good idea to remember these points from time to time - in order to better benefit your online experience.

When somebody new joins the neighborhood, it's always a good idea to bake them some cookies.

If you find a new website that you like, just as if you had a new neighbor move into your neighborhood, it's a good idea to make them feel welcome and appreciated.

You can let them know how excited you are to know them by writing them a simple e-mail or message. If you're feeling really adventurous, ask them for their real address and bake them some real cookies.

You can't trust everyone on the block.

Just like that creepy neighbor of yours who always tried to give you gross candy when you walked by (you know, the candy that no kid wanted), a lot of websites will try to give you things that you probably don't want.

Even if they look friendly and are dressed up nice, don't immediately trust every website you encounter. Get to know them before you go inside and give them any of your information - including your address, and especially your credit card number. And whatever you do, don't take anything they give you unless you are sure they are trustworthy.

Look both ways before crossing the street.

When you were a child, running out into the street was just a quick trip to the other side. But there were dangers shooting back and forth that your parents always warned you about. The same goes for the internet.

Before you sign up for a website, an e-mail list, or an online service, read up on it. "Look both ways," and find out what users are saying.

The same can be said for online ventures. If you're going to start an online business, or if you're looking to start your own website, be sure to look both ways and acknowledge any oncoming danger before jumping in.

It's best to make friends rather than make enemies.

Whenever you were bored as a child, you could always count on your neighborhood friend. Just a hop, skip, and a jump down the block and good times could be had. The same goes for the internet. Making friends can be beneficial to you in more ways than just entertaining your boredom.

Online friends can help you find resources that you may require, they can provide you with other types of help as well, they can promote your name/business/website, and they can be there for you when you need someone to talk to (virtually).

The internet is your neighborhood. Make the best of it, and above all: have fun, get to know your neighbors. But don't forget these points, because the internet can be daunting at times, and remember that everything you need to know about the internet has already been taught to you when you were younger.