There are and have been a lot of articles on different topics that whether or not they’re beneficial for us (or for someone). Even when I used to go on debates or extempores, the topics were of this manner – Is technology a boon or bane? Are smartphones boon or bane? It seems that there never is a straightforward boolean answer to this point.
Like other complex discussions, I can give you a hundred (not literally) reasons that’ll imbibe in your mind that the internet is the worst thing on this earth. On the contrary, I can also give you other numerous reasons that’ll make you go gaga over this beautiful technological invention. It all boils down to the way of using it.
I’ve been thinking of writing this post from quite some time when I stumbled upon a Quora question from a person who wanted to ask a particular location in a photograph of his grandfather. I was astonished to see that over a hundred people helped that guy in locating the exact spot where his grandfather had took the picture. All he provided was an old picture of his grandfather and the Quora community located the spot as South Rim of the Grand Canyon, in Arizona USA. On this planet which has a land surface area of more than half a billion square km, getting a location just by looking at it is an amazing feat. And that’s not it. A couple of days later, I came across another answer where a teen had written on a question the list of things he desired but couldn’t afford. As per my habit, I went to the comments and lo! once again this humanity had not let us down. The OP seemed to have some problem in his speech and wished for some speech tutor. This gentleman, Tillman Huett, who’s been an instructor at several debate institutes and has over 6k Quora followers, offered to provide free speech lessons to him. Seeing these things really assures us that good people still live on this earth and while the internet is full of shit, there are places online also, that maintain our belief in humanity.
And it’s not just quora, we can get an advantage of the internet in any way we want, other than using the websites that certainly are helpful in our life, the ones which we regularly use can also be useful. You can find many articles on the internet (and for that matter, on quora too) that want to scare you away from social networking websites because they (in their opinion) “waste your time and make you unproductive”. Again, I’ll request you to look and improve the way you use these websites. If you scroll through your Facebook feed endlessly liking useless posts your FB friends have shared; you, my friend, need to change because this seriously wastes your countless hours in which you can do a lot of productive stuff. But how can we use these websites to out benefit? One way is to leverage these platforms to show the world something about us which we think is worth showing. For example, I recently bought a DSLR and happened to click some good photographs (in my opinion). I decided to show it to the world and created the social media profiles on websites which are usually notorious for wasting people’s time. In just a couple of days, I learnt many new things. I may or may not continue this page or even clicking photographs, but the things I learnt will obviously be there with me.
Another useful way of using these websites is by monitoring yourself (your browsing habits there and your feeds). If you have 300 friends and even if 30 of them share useless stuff, you’re going through a lot of useless stuff that really takes away your time.
So what can we do?
By Zuck’s grace, we have a button called unfollow on Facebook. You can unfollow your friends who don’t share or post stuff that you want to see and still be friends with them. Like pages, join groups which you want to and which help you in one way or the other and you won’t have to listen to your mum’s rant about the time you’re wasting online. (This is at your own risk).
While writing this post, I came across two more instances of the internet being useful. I couldn’t find a particular word to use somewhere, but a simple query on Google took me to http://www.thesaurus.com and I could find 10s of variations of that word. The second was another Quora answer where a girl posted about her deteriorating eyesight and her inability to afford the care. A lot of people came offered her monetary, emotional and social support and I’m pretty sure she’ll be fine in some time.
So you see, the internet is not at all bad, it’s just how you see it, how to use it that matters. Even the websites which are notorious for wasting most of your time can be useful. My advice would be to be sensible and use the boons we’ve got properly and not let them turn into banes.