Friday, September 03, 2004

Newbie's Don't Participate - Find People

Newbie's Don't Participate - Your Own View Inline

If you are new to the internet you may be very content to use it like a big library and to download lots of "stuff". But this is just the first stage of learning about the internet, like a child learning first the crawl about the house and later to run about the house. That child mostly makes a mess rather than being able to maintain the house.

Too many people limit their internet use to a few personal email's and the occasional search engine question. This is a huge waste of an internet connection. If you ask me what the internet is good for I'll respond like this. "On the internet you'll find lots of people who share your view of the world that you never knew existed. You will have your views confirmed and reinforced. But you will also meet people who challenge your view, and from those people you can learn a lot. Even if you agree not to agree, your own understanding is improved when you can see things from another person's perspective. Your task is to find these people. Sadly most newbies have no idea about how to begin.

On the internet, you learn first by exploring. 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. Today the development of social networks is making the task of finding the right people easier.

It's a whole new stage in your on-line life when you choose to write your own letters to lists, when you become active in a social network, or when you open your own web site. Now instead of using the internet you are taking the logical next step and building a little of it yourself.

Some people wonder if the content exists to support faster internet connections. I have no fear. I am building that content. You will also build content. When we are all internet literate, building content will be as natural as picking up a telephone. There will be no shortage of content to share.

Newbies tend not to participate online because they lack contacts with people. The internet is far more than access to a vast library. Even more importantly it's a connection to a wide group of people across the world who share things in common with you and who you have chosen to associate with. (Or perhaps they have chosen you.) It takes a bit of confidence to get started, but once you have begun there will be no desire to turn back.

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