© Copyright 2001, By Bill Platt
For going on seven years now, you have been hearing about this wonderful world called the Internet. Well, now you have your own computer, and you are excited by your prospects, but you are not real sure where you should be starting. Don't feel alone.
There are literally millions of people coming online for the first time every year around the world. If you are in North America, you have an advantage. Most of the content for the web has been written for Americans.
In other parts of the world such as in Europe or Asia, there is a startling lack of content for the millions to peruse. Ironically, Europe and Asia are the fastest growing markets online, but they are just now getting started content-wise. They are just about where America was six short years ago.
Since you are just starting out, I would like to take the time to give you some insight on where and how to begin your journey.
The web as we know it began in 1993, and started picking up steam in 1994-95. Just a few short years ago, we were heralding the fact that there were 16 million pages on the web. Today, there are at least 1,387,529,000 pages in the known web. We call it the "known web" because a search engine has to locate a page before it is known.
After someone has been on the web only a few short months, the newness begins to wear off, and they will settle into a comfort zone doing generally the same things over and again.When this point is reached, the two things they do the most are email and seeking out educational materials. The good news is that the web delivers vast opportunities for both and often at the same time.
The world of the web is at its very foundation millions of little groups of people who meet and exchange information with each other. Each little group represents people with a common interest, and each individual is connected to several of these autonomous groups.
Pick a subject or interest, someone out there is talking about it right now.
When you are set to begin the journey of learning your way around the web, and you are ready to engage in the learning experience that the web represents, then you will want to begin subscribing to ezines and participating in discussion groups.
To discover thousands of great Ezines (Electronic Magazines) and Discussion Groups (Email Chat), then visit one of the following sites and drill down to your favorite topics:
If you are using a web-based email address such as Yahoo!, Hotmail, Juno, Lycos, Mail.com, Mindspring, Netscape, AOL or any of a hundred others, you might seriously consider using the email tool Eprompter which can be downloaded for Free at:
Eprompter will permit you to check your email without requiring you to actually go to the website that hosts your email. It is definitely a nifty little tool that will save you a lot of headaches and frustration.
Each discussion group has its own distinct personality, so you might have to shop around and try a few out before you find one that suits your desires. The same applies to ezines. It is estimated that there are literally tens of thousands of ezines in circulation. The number may even stretch into the hundreds of thousands. The same can be said for discussion groups. I know for a fact that on Yahoo! Groups, there are over 916,000 discussion group and ezine owners combined.
When you are ready to turn to the web to search for and discover websites that will sate your interests, I seriously recommend Google (http://www.google.com). It is by far the very best and the largest of all of the search engines. Google receives the greatest accolades for consistently high quality search results -- which will go a long ways towards understanding why so many people recommend it as the *only* search engine to use.
If you are looking for educational materials for your children, recently, a major children's software magazine gave the following filtered search engines high marks:
Ask Jeeves for Kids (http://www.ajkids.com)
If you are a search engine hound who likes to try a variety of search engines, there is another tool available that will permit you to try several search engines. This tool is an independent program which will permit you to type in your search words, the number of results you would like to see, and then choose an engine to search. It will load your search results directly into your default browser, in just a few seconds.
If you are using the retail version of Quick Swords called Quick Swords Master, you can literally pull results from over 200 different search engines in a variety of categories with a click of your mouse. Even if you are using the Free version, you will have access to 18 different search engines.
If you are outside of the United States, and you are interested in discovering search engines for your regional area, the first stop you will want to make is to Yakeo:
Yakeo is a search engine for regional search engines. Pick your country, and Yakeo will tell you which search engines are available for your country.
The Internet is literally a giant communications network bringing the world together as one. Email is the primary tool that holds it all together, and the browser is the tool that lets you experience the world through someone else's eyes.
Enjoy your new computer and this bright new world of email and the Internet.
Bill Platt - Owner
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