My Top 6 Uses for the Internet
The internet is a big place. Somehow, though, almost everyone who uses it stays confined to very few sites. Walking into any dorm room on campus, I am likely to see YouTube, Facebook, MySpace (for those same kids who just can’t let go), or the University webpage on a screen. Though my web-diet is slightly more diverse, I too am a creature of habit.
What do I do when the ethernet cable’s plugged in?
1. AIM – As much as I would love to see something, anything else take over the instant messaging scene (sorry, Facebook, your chat add-on still sucks just about as much as that new layout) AIM is where it’s at. Sure, I could try to be a pioneer and use MSN or something, but Instant Messaging isn’t the same without, you know, people. I currently use iChat, which makes it slightly less painful, but file transfer failures and an overwhelming amount of cell-phone-forwarded screen names constantly reminds me that AOL is still behind that sleek interface. Sidenote: Thanks, AOL, for not putting out a new Mac AIM client since 4.9. Y2K didn’t happen to Apples either, in case you didn’t notice.
2. Facebook – Guilty as charged. I’m the guy who memorized the keyboard shortcut for “refresh” for the sole purpose of Facebook. I’m not one of those faux-activists who starts a group and a petition every time Facebook changes a layout. Yes, I hate the new layouts, but I also think that Facebook gathered 200 million plus users for a reason: they know how to connect people. Having that goal in mind, I know there is some genius behind every change that helps them come a little bit closer to their apparent goal of shared consciousness.
3. Twitter – This one is a bit redundant as Twitter is essentially a mimic of Facebook’s status updates. The difference is that there is actually worth-while information on Twitter. I don’t have to spend my Monday morning sorting through pictures of my friends’ drunken weekend shenanigans and ambiguously emo status updates to find out if Friday’s movie releases were any good. Twitter, by definition, keeps it short. There aren’t nearly as many college students on Twitter, either, so I’m more likely to venture out and follow people who have at least some direction in life. Also, by design, Twitter allows me to follow people who don’t necessarily give a damn what I have to say (like John Mayer, who apparently didn’t give a damn what Jennifer Anniston had to say either). Lastly, as an english-geek, the art of cramming as much information as possible into 140 characters makes my heart flutter a little bit.
4. Blogging – Though my following is relatively small and my content is far from life-changing, the blog provides a creative outlet for my writing and thoughts. I always liked to write, and writing combined with the game of stat tracking (hits, links, etc.) makes for just the right combination of fun and a sense of self-improvement.
5. Skype – Though I don’t use it as much as iChat, leaving Skype off this list would be a shame. If anything is going to beat AIM, skype is it. Smooth file transfers, offline messages, cross-platform audio/video calls (very helpful, as the long-distance girlfriend hasn’t jumped on the Apple wagon quite yet), and a good-looking interface make Skype the ultimate AIM-killer. It hasn’t taken the social scene completely, but the professional world is already figuring out the uses of Skype. I wouldn’t be all-together surprised if its presence wiped land-lines off the planet, people paying the low fee for Skype’s phone-mimicking service rather than paying for landlines.
6. Appearing to be smarter than I am – Ever feel stupid as you’re talking to someone and they drop a word that you have never heard in your life? Okay, I might be the only one. Either way, with the help of Google, IMDB, and Yahoo! Questions, I can answer just about any question thrown at me and appear to be incredibly smart. The flaw in this, of course, is that when I’m walking down the street with someone and they call on my superior intelligence, they are unpleasantly surprised. Still, it’s fun to be able to instantly call on the infinite depths of the internet for any information that needs knowing. Sidenote: My problem of not having internet walking down the street may soon disappear, as some very smart people at MIT are developing a sixth sense that can be worn on one’s person, bringing the internet to my fingertips. Literally.
As with anyone else, I do other things on the net. YouTube and the news are also high on the list, but I’m guaranteed to do at least three of these six things on any given day, and given a whole week, I’m sure to do all six.