Monday, June 4, 2012

A Guide to the Internet

I figure I must have been on the internet on average a couple of hours per day for the past few years. According to Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000-Hour Rule this makes me an internet expert. So I feel I should share my wisdom and expertise freely with the world on how the internet works. Here are a few tips to help you survive and thrive on the internet:

  • If you are insane, paranoid or just plain wrong about something, the internet standard is to type in all capital letters so everyone will know your mental status right away instead of wasting time reading to find out.
  • Spelling and grammar are optional. Don't worry that some words, if misspelled, can mean something drastically different than what you intended. Readers should be able to figure out what you really meant if they sound it out phonetically a few times.
  • Never miss an opportunity to use cryptic abbreviations, even when there is no limit on how many characters you are allowed. Full words are so 2003.
  • Keep friends and family in the loop with frequent Twitter or Facebook updates about your meals, wardrobe dilemmas, sores that won't heal, what TV show you plan on watching later, and so forth.
  • An easy way to keep undesirable readers away from your site is to use a paywall.
  • Make people fill out a registration form to be able leave a comment. Only those with a burning desire to get their point across, or who have lots of time on their hands, will follow through. This should keep more reasonable people from watering down a lively debate.
  • If you can figure out how to set up a blog, everything you write there will automatically be more important. Because you're a blogger.
  • Increase website revenue by creating advertisements that move around the screen, so your reader will have to have sharp reflexes and a steady hand to dismiss it without clicking through. And the smaller the "quit" box the better. A transparent background helps confuse the line between ad and content.
  • If it's on the internet somewhere, it is a fact. This is especially true in the field of natural/alternative medicine.
  • Spellcheck replaces the need to carefully reread anything you type. Don't waste valuable time by doing both.
  • When in doubt, use the "reply to all" email feature. Your recipients can decide whether the content is appropriate for them or not. 
  • If you need to post a link, don't spoil it by explaining what the link is. Most people enjoy a good mystery, and have the time and patience to see where it leads.
  • If you can't see or hear who you are communicating with, traditional manners and courtesy do not apply. Rant, scream, call people names, do whatever you would never do if you were face to face. Think of it as the internet equivalent of shouting profanities at another driver when your car windows are rolled up. Unburden yourself, you'll feel better!
  • If you receive an important message which urgently needs to be distributed to as many people as possible, it is bad karma to stop and check
  • You must spend a few hundred dollars a year on a smart phone. For those times when you are not at home or at the office or asleep - your child's Christmas concert, for example - you will need a way to be connected to the internet in case that important message arrives. Be sure to turn on the location feature so the internet knows where you are at all times.
  • Don't just post articles and stories in a single, drab block of text. Make it fun! Break things up by inserting ads, links to other posts, and mouseover popups to explain basic concepts like "weather". Anything longer than one paragraph should be broken up over several pages.
  • People often ask not to have email updates when really, deep down, they want them. Send these people emails just in case.
  • Grab attention by having a video play automatically when people least expect it. Outmoded icons for "stop", "pause" or "mute" should be avoided - use something a little less predictable.
  • Social media sites are where normal humans go to interact with others. Do not worry if you are often alone in a dark room while doing so, it's perfectly healthy. 

You're welcome.

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