I always feel a little funny when I describe my work life to people who don’t use the web much. There are so many misconceptions about what goes on online: that it’s somehow dirty, that it involves fake social interactions, even that it’s slightly deviant. Apparently […]

I always feel a little funny when I describe my work life to people who don’t use the web much. There are so many misconceptions about what goes on online: that it’s somehow dirty, that it involves fake social interactions, even that it’s slightly deviant.

Apparently the Italians share some of these misconceptions about Internet usage with their U.S. counterparts. Here’s a video of a speech by Italian TV host and blogger Marco Montemagno describing myths Italians hold about the Internet and identifying Web 2.0 opportunities for businesses. It’s in Italian with English subtitles, which makes it all the more charming. [RSS subscribers: Click through to watch video]

[via David Weinberger]

Below, I’ve listed the seven myths that Marco identifies and suggested a couple more I’ve encountered myself.

It’s dangerous. You have to be careful how you use it. Montemagno: “In 1800 they said the same thing about the railroad: a nice but dangerous invention.”

It’s difficult. You must be the “Kasparov of the Internet” to figure it out.

It’s filled with pornography. Yes, I know you are online all day… but what are you really doing?

It’s for deviants. There are very strange people on the Internet. One must be very careful — people like us don’t surf the web.

It’s untrustable. You never know what might happen. One day the servers are up — the next day down. It’s fragile and not dependable.

It isolates you. If you use the Internet you’ll alienate yourself from society as you become an alien.

It’s virtual, not real. “There we are staring with gloomy eyes at something that doesn’t exist.”

I’d add two more to Marco’s list:

It’s addictive. It can’t possibly be healthy to spend all that time online.

It’s narcissistic. Blogs and Twitter and other so-called “social” web tools are for people who only care about themselves.

Fortunately all those are just myths (okay, maybe with little bits of truth in them). While there’s plenty of bad stuff online — just like offline — the web offers a wealth of opportunities for learning, working, and connecting.

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  1. yeah. no matter how much I explain it to my old man, he cant seem to grasp how I make money from working online all day.

  2. Mario Olckers Monday, December 3, 2007

    I am reminded of a scene from Ice Age when that creature says to Manny: do the world a favour, get your issues off the road, traffic’s moving

    i have to deal with this kind of uninformed resistance all the time and my way of dealing with it: let people exercise their freedom of choice however far their intellectual abilities let them

    those that denigrate the internet is just ashamed to admit it’s something they cant grok and thus resort to highlighting all the negatives

    it’s the old philosophical argument of tools and the intent and purpose of those using said tools

    use a screwdriver to fasten screws you’re a handyman
    use that screwdriver to poke holes in somebody and you’re a murderer

    and still people just talk for the sake of exercising their jawbones

  3. There’s an old saying that goes “if you’re asking the wrong questions, the answers don’t matter”.

    I think most people (even some people who work at internet companies, actually) don’t fully understand the point of it all. I explain it simply to older family members and friends:

    Most websites are ad platforms, so its similar to television. The content doesn’t really matter as long as people want to look at it, hopefully are a discernible demographic, and will look at advertisements. Television companies don’t care what they show you, as long as you watch.

    Subscription services and online stores are more self explanatory and have easier real world parallels.

    Sure it’s all virtual and a huge electromagnetic shock would leave us all jobless for a little while, but the money and audiences are quite real.

    Especially for porn.

  4. well…I guess the problem with the thing’ looking back at you allows the unconscious to project and voice…the real problem is that making an epherial connection with what you know how to do and do practically in the world of bits and bytes…of polarity realized…Henry Miller said, “a writer rarely reads [their] own work…”

  5. Ya
    i do agree i am a net worker
    but people around me assume as i see those hoottie – biitie movies all day n night
    ha ha ha haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

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  7. It’s like anything: if you take it too far, it can be harmful. Drink too much water, and you’ll die. That doesn’t mean water is bad; our use of it is what makes the difference.

  8. “But, Mom i have a dyslexic keyboard, I need to keep it bz for a bit. Do some exercise, got it?”
    Can I add one more?
    “I’m talking in my heads, not with my mouth.”

    Do you think I am OK?

  9. I am one that admits to not understanding the internet. But just because I don’t understand it doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate it for the amazing and I do mean amazing thing that it is. At one point or another I am sure I have heard all of the points you have raised. I do believe there can be an element of validity to each. It is something that just requires and element of care and balance.
    When I think of it is there really anything in our society, our world today that could not prove to be detrimental if used in the wrong way. That goes right down to even a simple can opener if used improperly can be dangerous and cut us.
    For me the internet has proven to be one of the most wonderful things that could possibly come into my life.
    I have serious health issues that greatly restrict my physical activity to the point I am almost house bound. I have become a blogger. My blog makes up of about 90% of my social interaction. I have met so many truly wonderful and special people, I consider it to be nothing short of a blessing.

  10. When I tell my man in the morning that I’m not sleeping in and have work to do he says “What work?”

    Sorry I’m not a genetic scientist with cool tattoos like you! Sheesh!

    Where does he think the Christmas presents are coming from this year? The traditional 9-5 job that I don’t have?

    I forgive him since he still uses Hotmail.

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