Well, as I’ve said before I have recently returned to the fold and started re-investigating the ‘net.
After several weeks of looking, trying, learning, being confused and experiencing sudden enlightenment (!), I have come to these conclusions about the way the well-informed, net savvy person is using their Internet!
Firstly, you have your own domain name. Preferably a “vanity” one that is immediately identifiable! Smith.com has more cache than albertsmith.com and far more than albertFsmith.net! At the very least, this allows you to have a persistent email address despite changing ISPs over time. Make sure you have bought a 5 or 9 year lease on the name. Quite possibly you have also bought domains for your family, relatives, and acquaintances.
However, despite this you have at least 1, probably 2 or 3, and quite possibly 4 Gmail addresses (personalised) as well as an (unused) Hotmail address and a (rarely used) Yahoo address! Note the personalised nature of these. You have to get in early – be an early adopter– to get the name you want. Gmail (2.6GB and counting) is currently the correct currency for web based mail, spam protection and possibly file storage. It’s true that those who can remember the existence of Yahoo Briefcase may also use that, but – hey – everyone seems to have forgotten it. Anyway – it is only a paltry 30Mb or so – not big enough for the modern Netizen.
To access the net, Firefox is the answer! The cognoscenti have abandoned Internet Explorer (understandably) because of security concerns and overall clunkiness. Sure- there are a few Safari and Opera users – and Flock has just appeared, but they are still very low on the radar. Perhaps the really savvy are using the new beta version of Firefox.
Having ‘net access at home and work, you use an online bookmarking service – like Del.icio.us – as well. This allows you access to all your ‘marks where ever you are.
The need to be up with the latest – and the fact that there is less time to look around the ever increasing ‘net means that RSS feeds are a part of your life. You have an aggregator running on your desktop 24/7 and may well use an online service like Newsgator as well. If you are truly switched on, you synchronise the two, so as to avoid repetition.
Digital photography is now the rage of the century, and -of course- the net has influence here too. Flickr is the site for personal photographs; either the free or the paid version. It is one of the few places that Yahoo has beaten Google to the punch. Sure, Google does have “Hello” but – I mean really! No competition at the moment.
If you have a photo storage application that you use online – you will also need the opportunity to show them off and write about them. Enter the Blog!
EVERYONE who is ANYONE has at least one Blog! (There are 19.6 Million of them!) Preferably hosted under your own domain name, but it is acceptable to have one hosted for you:-
• WordPress.com has significant prestige (invitation only until recently), as does Typepad.
• Blogger – may it rest in piece– is now a SPLOG haven and increasingly becoming deprecated (a peculiarly net-centric term).
You have your own host? Then you use either WordPress or MovableType. You have major antispam measures – either as plug-in or as a farmed out service such as Akismet. Your Flickr account is integrated with your Blog, so the world can see your photographic genius. :-)
Don’t forget to put some Google Adsense advertisements on your Blog. It MAY help a little bit toward the cost of you web life. However, you realise that – realistically- you are never going to make a million dollars this way.
You don’t just write of course, you TALK! Undoubtedly you ‘own’ your own SKYPE ‘address’ – again it’s the vanity model – you got in early. Problem is – if you get in too early you have no one to talk to! Do you have Skype-out for that reason? There are other VOIP type services of course – it’s just that Skype kind of got there first. Now that EBay have bought it we wait to see what they will do with it!
On the move and on the go, you take your information with you. Podcasts downloaded to your iPod or other MP3 player give you updates on what’s going on. You even listen to Podcasts about other podcasts to help you choose your podcasts! You may – or may not – choose to use iTunes, but you have been downloading from the iTunes Music store anyway.
Speaking of downloading. Bittorent is your friend. The increasingly legitimate uses of this medium have consolidated its position – you just need the client that suites you. You probably have used several so far and appreciate the increasing simplicity of the interfaces as time goes by. You use this for online TV shows and video podcasts – as well as other royalty free (cough) music and videos.
Lastly, you have your own online peer group – and you congregate in a few chosen locations. Slashdot (of which you are a member) and Digg are frequent recipients of both your attention AND your opinions.
So that’s the state of play at the moment. This is a fluid but exciting time, and things are always going to change.
I wonder what I will be seeing this time next year?