I’ve only scratched the surface of things that you may or may not want to do on the internet. I know that, I accept that, and I hope you don’t mind.
Two things I might have liked to address but didn’t: podcasts and Twitter. These were both kicked in preference to what I did address because they’re rather easier and better known than the topics I did write about. For 90% of podcast listeners iTunes does “podcatching” so effortlessly they didn’t know that was a word. Twitter is world-famous and pretty well understood, so my advice would mostly be superfluous.
But what I want to take a second to say is this: don’t wait for perfect understanding of something to give it a try. As Merlin Mann makes clear, the first time, perhaps times, you do something you’ll really be terrible at it. As Ze Frank said, saving up ideas with nothing but the notion that you’ll one day execute them perfectly and be greeted with immense volumes of praise and money is a sure recipe for stagnation.
The internet’s the native home for amateurs. It’s a place where 90% of the stuff is made by people who could never have convinced someone to pay them for what they built but felt a strong enough desire to that they put it out here on the web for us. The purpose of learning How to Internet is so that you can better deal with the wealth of that diversity of stuff that exists on the internet and use it to entertain, inform, and improve yourself.
The internet is a freer place than any other because of the twin engines of anonymity and low costs of entry. Surely anonymity has problems, which /b/ shows well, but it also creates scary brilliance. Imagine how unlikely someone would have been to publish LOLcats if they were risking their reputation on it.
A low barrier to entry makes it possible in a way it never was to be only constrained by your effort. This is incredibly empowering and a little scary. Never before have you been so able to rise through a rather pure meritocracy, never before have you been so unable to blame some gatekeeper for your lack of success.
Great things are afoot on the internet. Mind-bendingly great things are produced every single second of the day and put on the internet. What I hope I managed to give you this week was a competent sampling of the tools you can use to find, follow, and share those great internet things you love.
Thanks for your time and attention.