7 Myths about the Internet

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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]

[blip.tv ?posts_id=503336&dest=-1]

[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.

17 Comments

Resume CV Guru

Marketing…marketing…marketing… Absolutely agree this is the focus. As a newbie, with a good product, I tried the quick fix solutions for generating traffic with little success. I have learnt to appreciate time as a major factor. Be visible for long enough and people start to notice. I think the stumbling block is the “trust” factor. The rest of the world do not have a clue who I am, and are therefore taking a risk in buying my products. Frustrating, but true. This is somewhat alleviated as other sites begin to refer back to mine in a contextual way.

robert eggleton

Myth: cyberspace will market unfamiliarity.

Following is the most recent book review of Rarity from the Hollow. It’s by the Editor of Atomjack Science Fiction Magazine. Please post the review, mention the project, or anything else that you think would help. The third short story of the series will be in Beyond Centauri in January. The others were in Wingspan Quarterly and Atomjack (reprinted in Aphelion). Thanks. Robert

P.S. Even if you assist this project which donates funds to prevent child abuse and which markets a product that achieved highly positive recognition, I bet you can’t sell more than a half dozen copies.

Rarity From the Hollow:
A Lacy Dawn Adventure

by Robert Eggleton

Review by Adicus Ryan Garton

Imagine “Wizard of Oz” and “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” smashed together and taking place in a hollow in the hills of West Virginia. Now you have an idea of what to expect when you sit down to read Rarity From the Hollow: A Lacy Dawn Adventure by Robert Eggleton.

This novel is an unabashed, unashamed exploration of the life of young Lacy Dawn, as she learns that she is the savior of the universe. The naked, genderless android, Dot-com, who lives in a ship in a cave, told her so. Add her abusive father, her weak-willed mother, a sexually-abused ghost for a best friend that was murdered by her own father, trees that talk to her, a dog that can communicate telepathically with cockroaches and so much more.

There is so much to this story, and its writing is so unblinkingly honest; Eggleton spares us nothing in his descriptions of her father beating her and her mother, the emotions that the mother and daughter go through, the dark creeping insanity that eats away at her Iraq-veteran father, and the life in general of people too poor, too uneducated to escape.

In part, it is a grueling exposition of what children endure when being physically and emotionally abused. Eggleton almost seems to suggest that the only way for a child to escape is to learn that she is the savior of the universe. Lacy Dawn is strong, tough, smart—all those attributes that any child should have—and she reminds us that children are survivors, adaptive and optimistic. Instead of giving us a story of escapism, Eggleton shows us a girl whose life follows her through the story.

But don’t think you’re going to be reading something harsh and brutal and tragic. This book is laugh-out-loud funny at times, satiric of almost everything it touches upon (some common themes are shopping, masturbation, welfare, growing and selling drugs, and the lives of cockroaches). The characters from the hollow and from the planet Shptiludrp (the Mall of the Universe) are funny almost to the point of tears.

I hate happy endings to stories that deal with any kind of oppression or abuse because they tend to suggest, “In this case, it worked out okay,” and the reader walks away with the impression that the world is a better place (think of all those inner-city sports movies about black kids who win the big championship despite being addicted to crack). I thought for a long time that this book was an escapist fantasy, and when the fantasy broke, it was going to be tragic. No one wants to see a little girl go through heaven only to learn that hell awaits her at the end. And then when I realized that Eggleton was not writing an escapist fantasy, I worried that this happy ending effect was going to take place, making me not like the book, despite all its positive attributes. But when I realized that Lacy Dawn had to fix her life first before the story could progress, and that this was IMPOSSIBLE except by extraterrestrial means, and that Lacy Dawn carried her past with her as part of her instead of in spite of, it made the prospect of a happy ending much better.

Go here, buy the book and read it. It’s absolutely fantastic, and the proceeds go to the Lacy Dawn Adventures project. It’s like buying ice cream for charity—everybody wins.

——————————————————————————–

More information about Robert Eggleton and the Lacy Dawn project can be found here.

“Stainless Steel”, the story of Lacy Dawn’s best friend, can be read right here in Atomjack.

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Anne Zelenka

@Jillian, true, like the commenter after you demonstrates.

@Jordan: your man sounds a little like my man. Tho he has finally stopped making finger quotes when he asks me if I’m going to go “work” when I go in my office.

michaelhoffman122

I don’t agree with the mistrust of the internet. You can paint a gloomy picture of anything imaginable. As long as the user has computer knowledge and a sense of direction, they should have no problems. There is negatives with the internet but I seem to avoid them while searching everyday. Sure there is porn, but what forces someone to search it out. Freedom of speech is very important and if someone doesn’t have enough knowledge to stay out of trouble, that is their problem.

Jordan Pearce

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.

Bill

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.
Bill

Mila

“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?

Brett

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.

Devendra

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

frodo441

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…”

andyfox1979

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.

Mario Olckers

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

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