How to Internet: Why?

The first thing you might be won­der­ing, is why? Why is he using “inter­net” as a verb? First of all, wel­come gram­mar Nazi. But one of the first rules of the inter­net is that new words and usages are accept­able, even fash­ion­able. If you can­’t accept that, you prob­ably should­n’t really learn how to inter­net.

That point made, there are a num­ber of actu­ally valu­able why ques­tions about how to inter­net that are truly worth our tak­ing the time to tackle. So let’s begin there.

Why should I care about inter­net­ing? Don’t I already do that?

There’s a big dif­fer­ence between what most people do on the internet–check Face­book, Google a few things, and maybe check their 10 favor­ite websites–and inter­net­ing. Inter­net­ing is essen­tially hold­ing a flu­ency with the wide swath of pos­sible inter­net activ­it­ies and util­iz­ing that abil­ity to stay abreast of everything from the latest news to the latest LOLCats. It is, in itself, a mas­ter­able cul­ture that is both dis­tinct from those recog­nized off­line, and deeply enmeshed with them.

Essen­tially, you might care about inter­net­ing if you feel that you’d like to have great­er pro­fi­ciency with the young­est, most ver­sat­ile and power­ful form of cul­tur­al dis­sem­in­a­tion ever inven­ted and you’re bump­ing your head against the wall because you can­’t find a foothold from which to begin to under­stand the roil­ing mass.

That’s my fun­da­ment­al intent: to explain to you how I and people like me use the inter­net on a reg­u­lar basis to do all sorts of things that most civil­ians nev­er knew they could.

Why are you the one to explain how to inter­net?

I am, as those people who know me but don’t know the inter­net I know would attest, rather adept at spend­ing time on the inter­net. They con­stantly mar­vel at my abil­ity to do little out­wardly but be con­stantly enter­tained, informed, and know­ledgable. Almost of these abil­it­ies are due, at least in part, to the way in which I use the inter­net.

I make no claim to com­plete mas­tery or know­ledge of the internet–if I had to hand that crown to one single per­son I’d prob­ably choose Andy Baio–but I can say with cer­tainty that from the time I first saw the inter­net (I think I was about 10 at the time) I’ve been rather obsessed with it. Fif­teen years of spend­ing a min­im­um of an hour a day with some­thing gives you a pretty thor­ough know­ledge of how it works.

Why should I learn how to inter­net?

Because you know it’s import­ant. As I intim­ated before, I believe the inter­net is the future. All oth­er forms of media dis­sem­in­a­tion are on their way to grave­yard. All oth­er forms of pub­lish­ing will even­tu­ally be sub­jec­ted to the pro­cesses and judge­ment of the inter­net, and it’s likely many will be found lack­ing. If you have mon­et­ary interest in any form of media that isn’t attent­ive to the inter­net, you’re almost cer­tainly destined for the poor house with­in the next 50 years.

The pro­cess of learn­ing how to inter­net is some­thing mil­lions of people do every year (even without guides like this). As people con­tin­ue to gain ever great­er flu­ency in the inter­net and it’s ways they will leave behind writers, pub­lish­ers, and people who think that hav­ing a Face­book page is what it means to be on the inter­net.

I already know all about RSS, pod­casts, Word­Press, red­dit, and many oth­er things, why should I pay atten­tion to this?

You clearly have good reas­on to ques­tion the value of this, as those are rather close to what I intend to talk about. Here are two reas­ons you might care: because you can always learn from see­ing how oth­er people see and think about the things you know how to do well, and because you’re inter­ested in help­ing someone who does­n’t know enough to be aware of Lone Gun­man to get bet­ter at inter­net­ing.