Dearest loved ones, friends, fellow bloggers, and random people who happened to click on my blog link from one of my sister's posts, and also the wandering folk who have clicked on a series of links who may happen to come to my blog, and even those who searched for something in google and randomly had my blog appear in the search results...
I love you all.
Let me explain. I moved to Dallas two weeks ago. I have not had internet access at my new apartment, but if all goes well I will finally get it today. Without going into specifics it's been quite the complication to have internet installed.
I have heard many people say that the times they were separated from the internet felt liberating. They may have accomplished several other tasks they had not been focused on, written in their journals, pondered on the meaning of life, explored their neighborhood, expanded their interests, made new friends, etc.
I have done all those things, and it has indeed been rewarding, but I wouldn't use the term liberating. You see, I really like the internet. I used to be scared of it, thinking if I spent too much time on it then I would be a lame person, socially awkward, and probably a gamer.
But I love the internet because of the connections I form and the knowledge I can gain / have gained.
So on this post Thanksgiving weekend, I would like the internet to know why I am grateful for the internet.
I landed a job.
Not through career fairs or networking or the church employment specialist. But by posting my resume and portfolio information on different websites, sending a lot of emails and filling out many digital forms.
I had experience to help me land a job.
Because of my interest in the web, I now have a job designing and coding for the internet. By taking classes and doing an internship all about web communications I expanded my portfolio and had meaningful experiences that led me to a career path.
I can keep in touch with all the people I've ever met (if I want to).
There are many ways to do this. Here are my choice favorites.
Blogs are fabulous.
I can hear about what is going on with my friends or even friends of my friends. I can find out facts about them and interesting stories just by visiting a URL. And I can do all of this on my time. No, nothing beats a phone call or an update, but let's be honest- it's a little awkward to call up someone you haven't seen in years. But with a blog we can reconnect. I can hear about their life and even comment and interact with them in just a few short lines. I can still be some part of their life even when we are miles apart or just in different phases of life.
I have many married friends who I love and used to love spending time with. But when they start a family, it is difficult to communicate as often. We spend our time differently and it can be difficult to converse frequently because of the change in lifestyle. But I still love them, I want to hear about their day, their struggles and triumphs. So when they share on their blogs and I comment, we reconnect and have the opportunity to share again even when our lives are so different. A blog gives me access to their life without having to be consistently involved.
Facebook is amazing.
In college, I created a MySpace account and tried to understand it. Then Steven Shelley wrote on my MySpace profile and said, "Snyder. One word: facebook." So I went and checked it out. The first time I went to the site I was so excited about the white background. It felt so clean and wholesome. This was before I knew anything about graphic design and user interface design, but I knew I had landed on a good thing.
It's been six years and I haven't opened my MySpace account. I love Facebook and I love that so many other people love it too. I won't go into too much detail because I already wrote my ode to Facebook last year when Mark Zuckerberg spoke at BYU. But I love to see people's pictures and the fun things they are doing. I like when they share interesting links or funny status updates. I like when I find my 3rd grade teacher and become her friend. I like being in the know when past roommates get engaged or when people want my address for their wedding announcement. It is a great tool to reconnect- not for networking, not for business ventures, not for commercial advertising, but just for people. A lot of people like to have the inside scoop on celebrities: what they wore, who they are marrying or divorcing, where they were spotted, what they're doing this weekend, etc. There is a whole slew of people focused on getting celebrity information to the masses. But most of us really don't care about Jennifer Aniston. But we do care about the people we have spent time with or the boy who grew up around the corner or that one girl who was really nice to you when you were in a new location for a short while. Facebook gives us the contact information and ability to connect or reconnect with people I have met from all walks of life. Awesome!
Twitter is pretty neat.
I like twitter because it feels like Facebook, but I can "connect" with people in many different industries who are unattainable. You can follow Justin Bieber if you want and hear about his day from him rather than his tabloids. But you also have the option of following any public figure that you like. You can read about quick updates about your industry or get links to interesting things from interesting people that you have never met. This year I learned via twitter: Osama Bin Laden died, BYU published a student review, Adobe purchased TypeKit, and coupon deals.
I could spend hours on Linked In.
I know that most people use Linked In for networking, but I just like to read people's resumes. It is fascinating to become linked with someone whos career profession I know absolutely nothing about. I have linked with previous bishops and people in my ward who had a very specific role in my life. But on Linked In, I can read about what they really do all day, how they got there, what companies they've worked for, what they studied in school. It is really motivating to see that most people have had a variety of jobs and many different work experiences that have been catered to make them reach a certain point of productivity. They have had rich experiences that have guided them to what they are doing now.
The internet provides entertainment.
Being the frugal woman I am, I don't see myself buying a TV or cable access anytime soon. Thus I am grateful for Hulu and the ability to watch Modern Family, clips from the Today Show, documentaries, the Sing-Off, and explore other things on TV without having the commitment of a full hour with commercials. Plus it is free. So cool.
Youtube is really special.
I mostly appreciate it when I have a song in my head and I want to listen to it rather than buy it. It boggles my mind how people will just put up random stuff. Someone took the time to track down the intro of Bobby's World and put it up online so that we can all enjoy it.
Netflix is fun too.
Instant play is golden. It is like having a Blockbuster in your living room. Too bad it is so expensive now, but hey it was good while it lasted.
Vimeo provides the latest and greatest in sweet short videos.
I think motion graphics are awesome and I think film is a very inspiring medium and thus I really appreciate all the goodness on vimeo because only the content creators are posting the work. It is a fabulous little corner of the web.
Email is the best thing.
I love email, most specifically gmail. I love getting messages because I can label them and respond in an organized manner. I can type out my words and slowly think about them. I can add pictures and links and big documents. I can pass on information and keep it all in a tidy conversation list. I can send a quick note without having to use my thumbs on an itty bitty phone dial. I love email.
My list could go on. And it does in my head, but mostly in my browser history and cache. I didn't even expound on wikipedia and TED talks. It just amazes me that so many people contribute to this big collection of information. Yes, some of it is rotten and yeah some people are just sick or want your money. But so much of it is good. People write on forums and answer each other's questions. So many people post tutorials and want to help you be successful. And the craziest thing is that all of these tools, programs, streams, browsers, are most usually free.
So even though some people think the internet is lame and that my generation spend too much time on it, I love it. I have had an email account since the 5th grade. It is a big part of who I am, how I learn, and how I connect. And this year, I am mighty grateful for the collection of inter-networks we call the world wide web. Happy Thanksgiving!