Thursday, 12 June 2008

How I use the Internet

I first began using the Internet about fifteen years ago. That was just before the Internet became highly commercialized, but still had lots of sites and information on almost anything. Until then I had lived all my life without email and without this vast information and opinion resource. Internet banking and Wikipedia still belonged to the future. Microsoft had not yet entered the Internet browser market and Netscape was the leading browser available. Internet shopping was still a pipe-dream.

I soon discovered MP3s. I began downloading music by artists known and unknown. I explored music of different countries and discovered artists that are unknown where I live. In those days the only option that was open to me was dial-up. Some songs took almost an hour to download, often resulting in incomplete songs. This downloading of copyrighted material actually benefited the music industry. I managed to locate agents for artists that I had discovered to purchase legal copies of the CDs. The cost of dial-up was high enough to make it worth buying CDs when I was impressed by an artist.

The Internet soon became a major source of information and although some sites had to be treated with caution, much value was gained.

In 1996 I embarked on an MBA degree. The primary delivery mechanism of the university was distance learning. The on-line discussion forums for the course never really got off the ground, but the on-line delivery of study materials and articles proved to be of great value. So did on-line submission of assignments. The Internet really began to deliver value when the university's library enrolled me on several on-line journal libraries. Articles from all the leading academic journals of the world were available at my fingertips! I could access a huge range of information for my assignments and research at all hours of the day and night without leaving my home. The days of waiting while the library sourced the journal were over.

Following my graduation, I became a part time lecturer on a business degree course. One of my tasks was to run an on-line discussion forum. I became an e-tutor for a top UK business school and helped students from China, Canada, the UK, Australia, Europe and the Middle East to work their way through a variety of modules - all from my home in Johannesburg.

I participated on an on-line course on e-learning and ended up running courses for the same organisation. These courses are are time-consuming but rewarding, and I continue to run these on an occasional basis.

My wife complains that I am glued to my computer - but although she was computer illiterate until a few months ago, she now has a work at home job on the Internet for an on-line dating site.

Six months ago while searching for information for a newsletter I stumbled upon I contributed an article and then another. My first article was purchased by a publisher and I then won third prize for a contest! On Helium I read about blogging and blogging for money. I now have several blogs but have not made much money. At least not yet!

I have set up sites to display my wife's art.

On a daily basis, I use the Internet to access information, to find answers to technical and business issues, for Internet banking, and to get regular news updates.

The Internet has enriched my life!

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