5 Things We Can Learn From The Internet

The great thing about learning is that it is not confined to certain times or locations. Learning can happen anytime, anywhere.

I like to highlight this fact by, once a month, looking at things we encounter on a daily basis and seeing what important lesson we can from them.

In today’s installment of “Five Things We Can Learn From Everyday Objects” we are going to talk about an object we so clearly use everyday that I can’t believe I haven’t covered it already…the Internet.

Yes, the internet. You know, that thing I’m using right now to write this, and you’re using right now to read this. It is something we’ve become so attached to that I recently heard someone comment that he hopes his niece is born with WIFI, since he will be spending a lot of time with her. I doubt that will happen, but I also doubt it will prevent him from finding another way to get online.

5 Things We Can Learn From The Internet

1. Don’t Become A Dinosaur

I think it might be an Internet law that when you talk about a website that fell from grace, you have to mention MySpace. You probably know about how MySpace took the Internet by storm in the 2000s only to fall by the wayside and see sites like Facebook and Twitter pass it by. There are plenty of other examples like Hotbot, Ask Jeeves or Crumble-ology. Okay, I might have made up that last one, but it definitely sounds like something that would have been online at some point.

Are we becoming the MySpace of our profession? Are we destined to be the Crumble-ology of our craft? (Actually now that I think of it, Crumble-ology sounds like something you would study in culinary school). To avoid a similar fall of the face of the earth, we need to be constantly evolving. Learn a new skill. Take up a new hobby. Enroll in a Crumble-ology course. Anything to keep on, keeping on.

2. Everyone Has A Voice

Imagine what the Internet would look like if only a select few could add to it. Sure it might still be interesting, but it wouldn’t be nearly as great. You might get awesome sites like ESPN.com, but you wouldn’t be able to hear random dudes make up words like Crumble-ology (that is the last reference, I promise). My point is, the Internet is so great because we never know who is going to chime in with the next great idea.

When we are chasing our dream it is important to keep our ears open. We can be so narrow minded that we forget that everyone has a voice. We may bypass a helpful idea because we are not listening to the speaker.

3. Even The Best Things Can Seem Scary

I fear many things, but the World Wide Web is not one of them. But you’d be surprised just how many people think are afraid of the Internet. They think every email is out to steal their identity. Just hearing the words, “open a new window in your browser,” makes giant butterflies dance around in their stomach.

There are many great things out there, but for each one I am sure you can find someone afraid of it. I may laugh at someone’s fear of the Internet while at the same time being ashamed to acknowledge my own fear making new friends. In life, as online, even the best things can seem scary. Our ability to step into that fear helps shape just how great that thing can be.

4. Even With Convenience, We Get Lazy

I have a friend who teaches high school Biology. He told me he has one rule when his students write a report. You can’t rely solely on Wikipedia. He is not some crazy anti-Wikipedia nut job who spends his evenings concocting a potion with the hopes of destroying the online encyclopedia. He is simply trying to teach his kids to explore the internet and find multiple sources. He even explains that if they are afraid of venturing too far from Wikipedia, they can use the sources footnotes on the site. They barely have too look for other resources, yet time and time again he receives papers that simply cite Wikipedia.

As we go after our goals, we might get lazy. Despite having an enormous amount of resources – talents, friends, education – we get caught looking for the easy way. Much like my friend’s students we look in one area for all the answers. We need to not be afraid to look around and see what else this world has to offer.

5. Too Much Information Is Overwhelming

There is so much to learn from — and on — the Internet that I probably could have titled this list 1,000 Things We Can Learn From The Internet. But that would have been too much. The readers would be overwhelmed and probably wouldn’t make it through the first 20. Just because we can go on and on, doesn’t mean we have to.