Hi there! I’m Michael and I’m a professional geek ... not a nerd, a geek. There is a difference between the two and I will share that with you in a future post. I consider myself a geek because I have a wide variety of interests and I am not afraid to know a lot, about a lot of them. When I am not designing editorial pieces and advertisements for the magazine, I spend my time on the Internet. Since my superiors will read this, I would like to mention that all Internet use during work hours is purely constructive and always work-related. In my blog I will be writing about the Internet, bringing you tips and tricks that will turn you into a legend amongst your colleagues. But before we get into all that fun stuff, I would like my first post to be a little more serious and have it act as a foundation for you to understand the current state of the Internet and how it is rapidly influencing our lives.
The Internet. It’s here to stay. What may have once been considered foreign territory is now common ground for each and every one of us. We use it to search. We use it to watch. We use it to shop. But most importantly, we use it to share our thoughts and emotions. It has become an extension of the way we communicate, even the way we think. And although the possibilities are endless, many don’t realize that every piece of information, every photo, every video, and every letter of every single word has been put there by a person. Someone just like you and me.
At its most basic form, the Internet is a real simple concept. It is a global network of interconnected computers; a network of networks. As great as the concept of Internet is, it pales in comparison to the incredible experiences we have been able to create and share through it. Websites have given us the power to reach out to people in ways that were never possible in the past and this capability is causing a shift in the way we think and act.
We now have our own personal content filters. We choose the information we want and consume it when we want to. Did you see the game last night? You hear about that crash on the highway? You want to know how to bake a cake? How to start a business? Where to buy art supplies? How to become an artist? It’s all there, ripe for the picking, whenever you want. However, all this freedom to customize our information does not come without its pitfalls. In a time when more information is available than ever before we can choose to ignore most of it if we want to. That, to me, is the biggest waste of the potential of the Internet.
Now that we are happy getting all the information we want you can just imagine what happens when we get something we do not want. This is where it gets juicy! Was your dinner on Saturday ruined by poor service? Did that lawyer rip you off? Did your brand-name computer suddenly break down? Time to go online so you can let out all your frustrations by reviewing and commenting in every way imaginable. You need to let the whole world know that you have been let down by your (previously) favourite business. While you are connected why don’t you do a search for a replacement…a new place to dine next Saturday? How will you decide on a new place? How about the one with the most favourable reviews or, by process of elimination, the one with the least bad reviews.
Scenarios like this are really common and businesses cannot ignore it. To any business today the Internet is sort of like an accountability check. There is now an unspoken agreement between the business and consumer where the consumer says, “If you treat me good, I might come back. If you treat me great, I might write something good about you. But if you treat me poorly, I won’t come back and I will tell the whole world why!”
People are empowered now. The majority of us not only have social media profiles - like Facebook and Twitter - we actually use them, every day. We share our lives and the experiences in them, good or bad. Anyone who is accountable to the public needs to tread very softly, for one false step could make them look bad. And not just to one person, but to their friends, and their friends’ friends and their friends’ friends’ friends…well, you get the destructive point. Welcome to the “Comment Culture”. Anything you do can and will be used against you on the Internet.
I know you’re thinking “Hey, where’s the good part?” Well, the good thing about all this is that the Internet is more human than you think. The very essence of all interaction on the Internet is human. It is just a collection of bits and pieces of our lives put online for everyone to benefit from. Did you ever want to sing? Sing for the world. Are you an aspiring poet? Get published in an instant! Art connoisseur? Why not browse the world’s largest gallery? Looking for romance? Get out of the house a little more…or try a dating site. You can diversify your life instead of specializing it. Or you can specialize your life instead of diversifying it. In the end, it’s just another choice. Like choosing between Crest and Colgate (I would go with Crest because they have more fans on Facebook).Comments
Michael Fillier is the Creative Director of Top Choice Magazine and an avid lover of the internet, including web design, user psychology and information architecture.
- TOP CHOICE MEDIA proudly supports this event. See you there. t.co/Qf7Vq1egKo
- Find out who's featuring on the cover of t.co/r58sRFvHxi
- Distribution is in effect, but if you want it now click here. t.co/6ZuDcEHaw2
- sharing passion. share the virus. t.co/0wAzMppK9m
- I've just updated my professional profile on LinkedIn. Connect with me and view my profile. t.co/vctFziM4US #in