An ongoing discussion I have with my older clients is the difficulting they encounter in integrating the Internet into their lives. Unfamiliarity, uncomfortableness and, sometimes, fear tend to keep people who did not grow up int the internet age from understanding that the web IS "real life." Failure to learn how to use it effectively will limit our options in many areas. So this week, we're going to discuss some "baby steps," toward using the web in our daily lives. Let's start with alking about how the web has, in many cases, replaced our need for a phonebook, newspaper, or library.
Movies and TV
If you're still getting out the entertainment section of your local newspaper to schedule your TV and movie viewing, you're missing out on something wonderful. Sites like TVGuide.com, and Movies.com help you not only know what's on, where and when, but also whether or not you want to see it. Previews and trailers are available for many shows and movies.
Sites like Hulu.com and FreeTVOnline.com allow you to catch up on shows you missed for free. Some people have even given up paying for cable or satellite programming, opting instead to catch their favorite shows the next day for free online.
Much Better Directory Assistance
Who needs to lug a giant phone directory around when sites like WhitePages.com and AnyWho.com help us find the people in our lives who have land lines, and YellowPages.com and YellowBook.com help us find businesses. If you're curious about a ph# on your caller ID, these sites can also often tell you who the number belongs to, using a "reverse phone lookup," or try WhoCallsMe.com.
While I would never recommend taking the first page of any search engine as the "gospel truth," on any topic, they can be a great way to locate good resources. Just like you've (hopefully) always done with any other media such as newspapers, TV News, and encyclopedia articles, search engine results should normally not be used as "primary" sources in paper writing, or anything else. However, they are an incredibly quick and easy way to find out what the common wisdom is on a topic, and what people are saying.
Later this week, we'll discuss using the web in our "real" lives in networking, finances, shopping, and more.
Jennifer Pointer (e-mail) is a trainer and tech writer in Tulsa, OK. She promotes a simple, a low-tech approach to effective online profile management, search engine optimization and social networking. Her weakness is the mocha frappuccino.