Sunday, September 12, 2004

Newbie's Don't Participate - Developing Your Own Mind

Newbie's Don't Participate - Developing Your Own Mind

On the internet, you learn first by exploring. But you learn best from other people, so joining lists, groups, social networks, using IRC or Instant Messenger is helpful. When you read what others say and share what they are doing, your own skills develop. Moreover you find people who you can contact directly when you need help.

Having the confidence to find other people and the groups they join is critical. If you don't have that confidence ask for help from someone who knows the internet well. You can find public groups at Yahoo, at Google and at Topica. Most of these groups are fairly inactive. On the other hand some are very well established with large memberships and lots of daily mail. Go to Yahoo, Google or Topica and do your own search. Some of the very best "professional" groups are not offered in that way. They may be hosted by a university or a community or professional association. You may need to contact your own professional association or your friends to find out about them. Membership may be restricted, but membership is usually free to those who qualify.

You build your own mind. What your read, and what you choose to be interested in slowly changes who you are and determines who you are becoming. It's simple really, what you choose to think about and what you choose to pay attention too becomes the future you. Choose wisely. You need to read more than you write. You need to write, even just for yourself, because the discipline of writing forces you to think clearly. You need to talk about your thinking both informally and if you can in a formal way. Each process is a step in building your own ability to think clearly about the things that interest you. You build your own expertise; or perhaps you neglect to build any expertise. It's entirely a choice you make.

A whole new stage in your on-line life when you choose to write your own letters to public lists, when you become active in a social network, or when you open your own web site. That's putting yourself out there. You may lack the confidence now, but one day you too will be helping to create content on the internet.

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