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Why You Personally Should Be Online

Apr 15, 2008
OK, let me just stipulate up front that if you own a business or provide a service you should have an online presence. I don't think there's anyone left that doesn't have an idea of the incredible marketing potential of the Internet. If you're a business person and you're not on the net, get there.

So, is that it? Is all that cool technology nothing more than a gigantic mall? Do you have to be selling something to justify your presence on the World Wide Web? Well, the web is the greatest research resource ever created; I don't think I've ever looked for anything that didn't turn up something, although maybe not always what I expected. I guess if you can provide new information on some subject that might qualify for a website.

So? Is that it? No room for the everyman to participate other than as a buyer of goods and services? Take heart, because there is change in the air. A new Internet paradigm is forming, something people are calling Web 2.0. There is a lot of discussion about new business models, new ways to advertise, new application platforms, etc., but the most important part is often overlooked. Web 2.0 almost unwittingly describes a new social phenomenon in which an older, wiser Internet community begins to change the nature of the web to conform to the needs of a distributed community.

Contrary to the early fears our parents expressed about an alienated youth living virtual lives alone in their rooms, experiencing human contact only via electronic intermediaries, in this new society people are more connected across a wider spectrum of experiences than ever. The youth of today are in near constant contact with each other. Through IM, online gaming, cell phones, blogs, chat rooms, etc. we are developing a new culture that encompasses all of the connected world, and the world is becoming more connected every day. It's not unusual in the least to meet with friends at the coffee shop in the morning and have a chat with friends in four different countries in the evening.

Too many discussions about the future of the Internet focus on the technology and miss the subtler, but equally important point that the real revolution we are seeing is not in the software or hardware but in what many have called the "wetware"; the people. The web is becoming more about the people that use it and what they use it for than about the technology that drives it.

Should you have your own website? In the near future, I think that question will be like asking, "Should you have your own phone?" Websites are so easy to create, so inexpensive to maintain and have so many uses that just about everyone will have one and most will have several. Family sites for sharing with family and friends, work sites for keeping in touch with your peers, sites to announce upcoming events from yard sales to weddings, resumes, accomplishments, hobbies, sports, etc., etc., etc.

The world is flattening and the nuclear family quickly becoming a memory. As more countries come together in common cause and open their markets up to each other, families spread out around the globe and lose touch. The Internet is opening up avenues of instant communication that allow people everywhere to see, hear, and share with each other any time they want. The personal website is the front porch in a new online society where you welcome up friends and neighbors for a sit and a chat in the evenings. It's the fence you lean on in the afternoon to talk gossip and share recipes. It's the living room you hold your Cub Scout meetings in as well as where you post the latest pinewood derby results. It's even a refrigerator door where you post A+ papers next to crayon masterpieces for all the family to see.

Join the new global community and build a website.
About the Author
Dan Scott is a Computer Scientist with over 25 years of experience designing, constructing, and supporting computers and computer applications. Make sure you check out his web hosting analyses on the top affordable web hosting sites.
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