For the very creative and internet savvy person, the internet is like a portal to wherever he wants to go. Yet there are a lot of people who still are missing out of the real value in accessing the internet. They use it more like the TV in a doctor's office -- always tuned to the terrible stations. They can't seem to get a good enough value for the time they spend online. They frequent just a couple of low value websites daily and feel that the internet is a place for one to waste time and check on friends. They miss out of the huge relevant value that is available to them on the internet. In fact, I see them as someone who went to the museum but spent the most time checking out the restroom there rather the main things that make museums a tourist attraction.
So how do you get value for the time you spend online?
The answer looks very easy for tech freaks like me. I feel no inhibition online. I have all my details scattered everywhere online. I have my ATM/Debit card details on over 30 websites. I even think on over 100 websites. I prefer to buy things online than offline. I try out everything I can online. I am currently doing an online MBA despite never wanting to go back to the University; I saw an advert online someday and clicked it, and it looked so cheap and application was fully online. No sending of hardcopy transcripts or hardcopy reference letters or hardcopy certificates. I applied in one day. Got two friends to send in a reference letter for me by the next week. And I got my admission the week after submitting my reference letters. It was way easier than opening a bank account. Or even registering for PayPal. And that was what lured me into completing my application. I started out of curiousity and was hoping they would make a request for something I would need to send physically which is the same as telling me to stop. I never finished any academic application since getting my B.Eng (except one Stress Consulting Diploma program that had a super easy application process) because I hate filling a form I can't finish at one sitting in front of my computer. And once they request for anything hard copy or test of English or GRE or GMAT I don't bother anymore even if they were offering a full scholarship with salary-like monthly stipend attached. But put up anything online and even ask me to pay and I will give it a try. I seem to always know where to go online.
But if you are not an internet native like me, there are still some tips to help you increase the value you get online.
- Join the online equivalent of the communities you are a member of offline. I am a member of a public speaking community offline, and used to be a member of a community of French language learners. I went online and searched for online ones too and joined them. And I didn't stop there, I also joined the online versions of communities I loved to be a part of -- data analysis community, book writing community, professional networking communities and technical communities. When you join communities, you surround yourself with people doing what you want to do and benefit from the peer pressure effect it will have on you. Giving you the confidence to do the things you want to do or achieve. It's one of the best ways to get value for your time online.
- Overcome your online fears. I have a friend who for years dreaded being on Facebook. He had genuine concerns about his privacy and fear of someone hijacking his account for a malicious purpose. The internet is like Lagos, there are many dangerous places and dangerous people there. But when you decide to sit at home because of fear, you are doing yourself more harm than good. I am very active online but what I engage in are activities that I will love people to find out about me. I put everything about me that I am not ashamed of online. It earns me people's attention, friendship, business opportunities and trust. And my life has changed in ways that an online hacker cannot reverse.
- Start small. When I began buying things online, I started very small. I bought low price things that I wouldn't cry about if they weren't delivered. Gradually, I progressed to buying more expensive things online. And now my most expensive phone, an iPhone, I bought it from an individual seller in the US. We even communicated via email. Now I buy things online like I do in a traditional/offline market. Some knowledge come only with experience. I get the best deals on anything I can buy online, from software to physical goods.
- I use Google a lot. I search for anything that interests me. I increase my chances of stumbling on new things daily and finding possible sources of value online.