Life with the Internet is a double-edged sword. We love that Facebook tells us when it’s our best friend’s birthday (is it the 8th or 9th of June?), but we detest being asked by high school acquaintances to help them plant an imaginary garden. And of course, email is a killer. Remember how AOL used to have that guy say, “You’ve got mail.” Pretty sure he died of acute laryngitis.
As with all things in life, the answer is having the right perspective. I used to walk around Manhattan annoyed that beggars would come up and ask for money, until I decided to imagine that they were offering me money. They would extend a cup full of change and a few bills, and I’d say, “No thank you, I’m good” and continue walking. Well, that’s how we should approach the Internet.
Fed up with information overload? Take better advantage of information unload. Here are five reasons why the Internet offers us more than it asks.
1. Search engines – No need to remember anything, including URLs. Being eternally stumped on a trivia question is a thing of the past. Finding exactly what we’re looking for is getting faster and easier all the time.
2. Efficiency –The ability to communicate to groups of people, even broadcast messages, is terribly efficient. Traveling and want to keep everyone up to date - without spending time, money and energy to connect with each. Now it’s easy - post an update to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn - and voila…done.
3. Value – Once connected to the Internet, you’ve got access to all the same public information as Bill Gates, heads of nations, Warren Buffet and Jimmy Buffet. Where else do you get the same treatment as these people?
4. Choice – We choose when to engage (and how much). Can’t sleep at night and need to fire off that email, done. Choosing to carry on a conversation that lasts months or years, by simply posting a quick comment when time permits…easy as pie.
5. Freedom –How we use each internet platform is up to us. Want to post poetry on LinkedIn (even if you’re not a professional poet)? Go ahead. Set up a website that redirects to your Twitter feed? What’s stopping you? There are very few rules to follow and that’s a good thing.
Remember, the Internet is family now, you don’t have to like everything about it, but you do have to love it.