So, thereâ€™s this thing. You may have heard of it. Itâ€™s called the Internet. Itâ€™s kinda like this massive net of jumbly, wibbly-wobbly, crazy everything. And thatâ€™s a technical term, mind you. I was talking to someone recently who admitted to not knowing how use the Internet, and to me that was like not knowing how to brush your teeth â€“â€“ in our society today, itâ€™s just a basic life skill. But at the same time, the Internet has this obnoxious habit of taking over your life if youâ€™re not careful.
Seriously guys, if youâ€™re spending several hours a day sharing pictures of food that looks good with all 5 billion of your Facebook friends, it might be time to take a step back. Maybe you should actually get yourself to the kitchen and make those raspberry cheesecake brownies. I guarantee that your friends â€“â€“ though maybe not all 5 billion â€“â€“ would appreciate that a lot more.
Have you ever stopped to think about what youâ€™re using the Internet for? Like really using it for? I know back in the day I used it pretty extensively to find out which â€œHarry Potterâ€ or â€œLord of the Ringsâ€ character I was most like by taking (Iâ€™m sure) rigorously accurate personality tests put together by some dude who called himself HotStuffDeathEaterXXX or something of the like. You know, a professional personality expert.
Iâ€™d like to think Iâ€™ve moved past that kind of thing. Maybe not. But really, what should we be doing on the Internet? As someone with a lot of experience in the matter, Iâ€™d like to offer a few suggestions.
1) Expanding your knowledge of useless trivia. Did you know that Napoleon III was afraid of cats? Or that Barbieâ€™s full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts? Well, now you do. And you can thank Google for that.
2) Familiarizing yourself with the animal kingdom and the abilities of various creatures. Like the ability of kittens to look adorable inside teacups. Or the ability of a mouse lemur to make its eyes really, really big.
3) And last, but certainly not least, sharing random details of your life with many people who probably donâ€™t really care that much, but who are doing the same thing. If the Internet has done anything for contemporary society, it has given us a place to indulge in our narcissistic tendencies on, like, five different platforms. Not that Iâ€™m complaining.
Everyone knows what the Internet is â€¦ Or at least I can count on anyone reading this, as either college students or Internetizens, to be familiar with it. Letâ€™s not kid ourselves: The World Wide Web is essential for our educations, whether checking for homework via RamCT, registering your iClicker or just hitting up EasyBib.com â€” because who even memorizes how to cite their sources anymore?
And itâ€™s just as well, since the Internet will continue to be required as we leave school and go into the workforce. From CEOs checking their email to pizza delivery folks receiving an online order with a request to draw Goofy on the box, the Web will be involved.
But who cares about work and school? The Internetâ€™s most important function is obviously recreation. Obviously. But as a full-time Internetizen â€” something my parents donâ€™t like to hear â€” I have some tips regarding safety. No, I donâ€™t mean any of that crap about giving out personal information. I think youâ€™re a little old to get stalked by pedophiles by now.
No, these rules are about where to go and where to avoid. Do that, and youâ€™re not going to run into anyone sleazier than some of the people youâ€™d meet on campus anyway.
4chan: Unless you know how to navigate it, this site will bring you nothing but sadness and, quite probably, disgust.
Gumblar.cn: This is one of the sites with tons of malware that is sure to beat up your computer. The domain is Chinese, but if youâ€™re looking to practice reading Mandarin, I suggest you look elsewhere.
Any alleged â€œshock sites:â€ â€œShockingâ€ is never a word applied to good things, like how shocking itâ€™d be to actually get an iPad 3 for being the 10,000th visitor. â€œShockâ€ means gory pictures, offensive videos and porn in your work environment.
Anywhere your friends are: The best way to make the web fun is to do it with friends. That sounds corny, but why do you think Facebookâ€™s so popular?
CutestPaw.com: This is where youâ€™ll find those cute kitty pictures Bayley was telling you about. Not a cat person? They have puppies, too, as well as ducklings, piglets and tiny, tiny turtles.
Goggles.SneakyGCR.net: This isnâ€™t a site so much as an online application that allows you to vandalize your favorite websites. Hell yeah.
Gyazo.com: Again, more an application than a site youâ€™d spend time on. This gets you a screenshot with a shareable link in less than three seconds.