How to spend your time in a constructive way online
There is a meme circulating around the internet with a couple of aliens wondering how the greatest tool ever given to man – the internet, offering us access to endless supplies of information – is used by people to write on walls and watch funny cat pictures. It’s funny, but also sad – most people use their wired or wireless internet connection to publish selfies, read meaningless Facebook updates, or read gossip about self-proclaimed, worthless celebrities.
The internet is so much more than a collection of funny stuff – and the time you spend online can be used in so many useful ways you might not even know about. Let’s see a short list of things that are more constructive, and at least as entertaining, than watching cat videos on YouTube.
1. Express yourself!
Some say there is an artist hidden inside all of us, but we simply don’t take the time to discover our talents. Some of us have a great eye, others can make beautiful drawings. Some have a bunch of beautiful melodies in their heads all day, others can create immortal rhymes as easily as others breathe.
The internet is a great way to express yourself in writing, music, pictures and any other way (except maybe for sculpture). The simplest way to do this is to create a blog (there are a great variety of free blog platforms to choose from) and publish your work through it.
If you take great photos, you can publish them through 500px.com or a similar platform. If you are a good graphic artist, DeviantArt is the place for you. Soundcloud is there – and free – for digital music, and YouTube is perfect for aspiring young directors’ short movies.
All you need is a decision to try. It’s fun – you’ll see.
Many people consider learning a burden, and they might even be right: learning something just because you have to is boring and a drudge. But what about things that are interesting for you?
When I was young, I spent months of my life learning about HTML (HyperText Markup Language, that tells the browser how a website looks) and CSS. I have become an amateur web designer, and – despite the fact that I have no talent in graphic design – this later helped me to make a honest buck online.
There are so many things to learn online – this is what the internet was intended for, after all, to provide information for everyone in need.
3. Make friends
The internet is a great place to meet new people from all around the world. All you need is a common interest.
I think this is the greatest use of Facebook and similar social networks: that it can bring together people from all corners of the world around that share a passion, no matter if it’s literature, music, gardening or earthworm farms.
And if you found the people you were looking for, even if they live half a world away, you can communicate with them over the internet, share your thoughts and your expertise, and they can do the same. And, who knows, you might even visit them in person once…
The internet is a wonderful tool, wasted by most of us on useless things. It’s time for us to wake up, leave the funny cats to others and start using it as it was intended: to improve ourselves.