There are people in this world – human beings like you and me, I tell you – who are completely abusing the Internet. Here they are, hunched over keyboards, staring into Steve Jobs’ deep space Retina Display, and they’re using the Internet to ask questions like, “What are some weird ways to use a fork?”
And then, someone else by the name of Peaches comes along to say, “back scratcher… food flinger… hope I could help!” No doubt, Peaches’ sentiment is genuine.
The exchange doesn’t end here, however. The original questioner returns to give Peaches’ response four out of five stars. Not five mind you. Peaches is only a B- student. (This is quite evident in his/her typos.)
Where Are We?
My question now, is where are we? “How many miles are we from the moon?” I get it. Google. Wikipedia. Perhaps the online Encyclopedia Britannica if we were still living in the year 2002. But, the fork question? I’m sorry; I do not understand this usage of the Internet.
Let me ask it again: “Where are we?” I’ll refrain from posting to Yahoo! Answers. I won’t dare type it into Google. And, I’m not sure if Ask Jeeves is still around, but I can’t be bothered to check. (Alas, I succumbed! Somehow I ended up here eleven seconds later, reading the most interesting dull conversation I’ve seen in weeks.)
The question goes a little further though. What is happening in our culture’s relationship with the Internet that every single problem/thought/minute occurrence must be addressed, resolved, and reported online? Why are people using the Internet to complete the most absurd, petty tasks? To get answers to the most bizarre and boring questions?
Furthermore, why all the asinine conversations that the subject generates? Is this one of those conversations?
Epoch of Democracy
Some have touted the Internet as the epoch of democracy. And, it’s quite possible that they’re right. After all, everyone has an equal say (unless you live in China or know nothing about SEO). Billions of voices all have their say… instantly. Who didn’t have an opinion on Andy Griffith’s death this past week? Who couldn’t share a memory, or hastily unearth an obscure video clip from YouTube’s dusty innards?
Yet, I digress. Living in the Internet’s belle époque (for now), we’re presented with a rising tide of democratic principles in action that would make Thomas Jefferson do a jig of joy up and down the halls of Monticello.
And, in true democratic fashion, there’s very little regulation governing who can and can’t do what. The trivial example I began with is the least of anyone’s concern. The bigger subject is all of the fascinating and strange things that people are doing with the Internet.
Perhaps I should correct my original statement. It’s not abusive use of the Internet… it’s creative, sometimes resourceful, largely wasteful use of the Internet. But, there’s got to be something to it, right?
The Next Few Weeks
Over the next few weeks, I will begin exploring some of the odd ways that people are using the Internet, and what it can mean for you as an individual and as a business owner. People are treating the Google search field as a spell-checker when there are free dictionary widgets galore.
Opportunity is out there for you as an entrepreneur and small business owner. In this age of weird Internet usage, content writing matters now more than ever. The creative ways that people are approaching their computers means increased opportunity for you. It’s your job to seize those opportunities.
If you know of some odd ways people (or you!) are using the Internet, send them my way or share them in the comments section. Otherwise, I’ll see you next week to explore our first case study in unconventional Internet usage!