Using the Web
Estimated Lesson Time: 8 minutes
Since 1994, the Internet, specifically the World Wide Web (or just “Web”) has been constantly evolving to what it is today: a virtual global marketplace, information and education center, and communication network. The Internet has dramatically changed the way we work. In this new era, anyone with a computer and an Internet connection, despite sex, race, age, financial status, and physical limitations has the same opportunities to find success with the help of the Internet. However, many people are intimidated by the Internet and limit their own success. Knowing and understanding a few basic principles can help you take full advantage of the power of the Web and help you in your journey of success.
There are billions of public web pages on the Internet. Most of the content is garbage, but even the tiny percentage that is useful still accounts for much more information than one would find in the largest of libraries. There are more products for sale than one would find in all the world’s malls combined, and more opportunities than one would find in all the help wanted sections from every Sunday paper in the world combined. It is not hard to see what a major role the Web can play in our success. Specifically:
- Research. Using your favorite search engine to find information is easy. I prefer using Google.com because of the lack of image-based advertising on their site. For science and academic based research, try scholar.google.com.
- Contacts. Through browsing alone, one can make numerous targeted key contacts every day.
- Bargains. The Web is the ultimate marketplace where competition is fierce, and prices are low. Working with reputable companies, you can save some serious money on higher ticket items.
- Education. There are numerous sites dedicated to providing free education and training for those who seek it. The Web, unlike books, audio, or even video is capable of real-time interaction, which aids in the learning process.
- Opportunities. The Web is the ideal place for creating new opportunities and finding existing ones. Those who think all the good ideas have already been taken are thinking like Charles H. Duell, Commissioner of the U.S. Office of Patents who, around the start of the twentieth century, reportedly wanted to close down the U.S. patent office because he felt that everything to be invented had already been invented. The fact is, the Web is just over two decades old and as technology advances, new opportunities arise. The Internet bust was not due to bad ideas; just bad investing. Today people are wiser and more cautious. This is a good thing for those with solid Internet-based business ideas or those who represent solid Internet-based businesses.
Unfortunately, the Web, like the real world, has it evils as well. These evils keep many people from embracing the power of the Web. The good news is that these evils of the Web can easily be avoided or ignored with a little education. Here are some tips, suggestions, and insights coming from a guy who has been living the majority of his conscious life in this virtual world since 1995.
- Dealing with misinformation. The Web is full of information, just not all of it is based on facts. While reading biographies of the successful individuals written about in this course, I have come across websites on just about every one of the people I’ve profiled stating how they are/were either devil worshipers, Nazis, or something else as ridiculous. Verify the source of the information and do not automatically believe everything you read.
- Protecting your personal information. Many years ago, there was a major security flaw in a Web browser that allowed websites to “capture” user’s e-mail addresses simply by visiting a website that contained simple code. This security flaw has long since been fixed, but the damage still is being done today as people avoid the Web for fear that their personal information will be captured. The fact is, with the exception of extremely rare security flaws, this cannot happen unless you purposely enter your personal information on a website or download and install a program that installs “spyware” on your computer. Before entering your personal information on a website:
- Make sure the web page you are on is secure. You can tell by the URL in the address bar beginning with “https://” or by the closed lock icon. If the page is not secure, your information can be picked up by anyone sniffing the network (ignore the tech stuff, just know your info is not protected without a secure URL).
- Look for a privacy statement. A privacy statement is not a guarantee that the company asking for your information will do or not do everything promised in the statement, but it is certainly a good sign. Most businesses will not risk their reputation by selling their customer’s information to a third party, but it is certainly possible.
- Realize that very few things are free on the Web. If you do not pay for a service with money, you pay in one or more of several ways.
- Adware. Adware is software that is bundled with other software that users download and install on their computers. This adware “pops up” frequent ads in the form of web browser windows whether you are using the Web or not. It is very annoying to say the least. If you have this software on your computer, there are many programs you can run that will find adware and remove it.
- Spyware. Spyware is just like adware except it reads your computer for your personal information and sends it to a source that then will either sell it or use it to market products to you.
- Ads. Ads could be in the form of banners, text ads, Flash animations, pop ups/unders, and more. These can range from discreet to very annoying.
- Spam. Many times you give your e-mail address and permission to be marketed to via e-mail in exchange for a product or service.
- Selling your information. One of the worst web “sins” a website can commit, is selling your information to a third party without your knowledge.
As a general rule of thumb, when you pay for a product or service you do not have to be concerned about any of the above. However, if you are searching for something for nothing, do your homework and search for privacy statements, FAQs, or other publicized assurances that your information will be kept private.
- Keep your operating system (OS) updated. Modern operating systems “push” updates to users, but users still need to agree to install them (or choose automatic updates). This will protect you from many of the latest viruses and known security flaws.
- Don’t be deceived by ads. The Web is full of deceiving ads such as ads that look like windows with fake cancel buttons that launch new windows, ads that look like warning windows that tell you something must be downloaded, ads that tell you claim your “free” prize—only to discover later that the prize is free with your purchase of other products—and many more.
- Only trust downloads from official sites. Download software only from sites you are familiar with and trust.
The benefits of the Web far exceed its evils. Pretty much, the worst that can happen is your credit card number might be stolen, but most credit companies do not hold you responsible for that anyway. If your e-mail address gets spammed, you may have to setup some spam filters or at worst, change your e-mail address. Take advantage of this amazing tool and start working in the information age where one can find opportunity just clicks away.
Take Your Year To Success To the Next Level
If you like what you are reading, please consider these options in addition to this free course. They include a hardcopy of the book and an intensive course with action steps, assignments, and personal coaching from Bo.
- Buy the Book. Year To Success - Available in hardcover, signed by the author. Also available in ebook, paperback, and audio from Amazon.com.
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- Enroll in Bo's Life Mastery Online Course. This is a course that covers hundreds of life-enhancing topics that they never taught in school, but should. This is more than a course on self-improvement; it is a course on mastering life.
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Some discussion questions (some may not apply to this lesson):
- Have you implemented this idea in your life? How has it been working for you?
- Do you have any interesting stories related to this lesson? Do tell!
- What do you admire most about this person? (success biography days)