The Internet isn’t going away. Its probably going to be here for a while, most likely for the rest of humanity. The rate at which computers have interconnected us and affected our lives grows year after year.
You can literally buy everything you need in your life online, from homes, to cars, food, toilet paper, toothpaste…literally everything.
I have used the Internet to learn how to rebuild an entire engine in my car. I watched a video that showed me how to replace a hot water heater in my house, how to solder copper pipe, and how to properly install a Moen faucet in my shower. I’ve gotten recipes off the internet for Indian Chicken Masala, home made spaghetti sauce, and beef stroganoff. I’ve met many friends, even my wife on the Internet.
So, what’s the point of this post? I’ll get to that in a moment. First, I want to put something into perspective. September 11, 2001 seems like yesterday for people my age and older, yet Facebook and Twitter didn’t exist back then, no one knew what a smartphone was, or even sent text messages. Most people who were online did it through a dial-up modem. Google was not yet a verb. It was a 3 year old privately run company with none of the services that they have now.
What’s going to happen in the next 10 years, or even the 10 after that? I think that the time has come that we all look at each other and ask ourselves, “are we making the most out of it?”
More and more human interaction is going to be online and I think that we should set some ground rules. Originally when I was writing this post, I had envisioned a list of rules or suggestions I have for making the future Internet better, but in reality, everything I came up with could be combined down to two suggestions.
1. Contribute Something
2. Don’t be a Jerk
That’s it. We’re all already interacting with people more and more online. People tend to become brave when in the safety of their bedrooms behind a keyboard and say some pretty crazy things online that they wouldn’t say in person. Knock it off!
If you’re going to go online, why not contribute to the greater good and leave your mark? That doesn’t mean you have to be the next Steve Jobs or David Zuckerberg. Why not write some useful reviews for products you’ve bought on Amazon, or contribute some useful posts to a blog site? Create a helpful Youtube video or comment on someone else’s post with useful commentary. Heck, you can even be helpful on Facebook or any social media site.
Stop the flame wars, and stop spreading ridiculous misinformation. If you see something on Facebook about something Obama supposedly did that pisses you off, before you go on some Anti-American rant, why not educate yourself and confirm whether or not its true. Check your facts on sites like snopes.com or simply just search for something in Google. Even if it is true, why not make a constructive comment, rather than just spread negativity?
I’m not saying that you still can’t have fun and watch funny cat videos or Russian dash cam videos. Heck, go ahead and make something funny yourself. The world needs more humor, not less.
So many sites like Wikipedia and Gawker exist with amazing amounts of free information that people have already contributed with absolutely no cost to you. Like I said earlier, the Internet is not going away. It is going to continue to permeate our lives. You can either be a menace and contribute to flame wars, or you can try to give back in your own way and make it better for the rest of us.