This article originally appeared on my website ProWebWriter(dot)com in 2012. I updated it for 2017 to appear on StackingBenjis(dot)com. I think I’m finally settled here.
Being Internet savvy is quite a blanket statement. The Internet is such a vast domain that having a broad knowledge is an ongoing process for any enthusiast.
The first time I ever saw the Internet was at my brother’s house in the mid-90’s. I remember he showed me Yahoo and how you could search for people you know. It was a brief introduction, but I was completely intrigued.
Being a teenager of limited means, I finally got online in 1997 via WebTV. WebTV became kind of a laughable phenomenon as computer ownership became more widespread. It was really an innovator and ahead of its time given all the Internet-ready TV’s and TV compatible devices available today.
It was a limited experience without a computer, but my brain was a sponge.
Two years later, my parents (God bless them) shelled out nearly $2500 for my first desktop and I haven’t looked back.
So with nearly 13 years (now 21 years) online under my belt, I am attempting to write a comprehensive list of criteria that makes one “Internet Savvy” since I can’t really find one online.
What Does “Internet Savvy” Mean?
Let’s break it down. If you’re reading this, you know what the Internet is, but what does savvy mean? The beauty of the Internet is that as I’m writing, I can pull up a dictionary definition of any word.
verb, -vied, -vy·ing, noun, adjective, -vi·er, -vi·est. Informal .
verb (used with object), verb (used without object)
- to know; understand.
- shrewdly informed; experienced and well-informed
A simple click, and boom, there’s also a thesaurus. You aren’t just limited to a plain ol’ dictionary or thesaurus either. You can get dictionaries in multiple languages as well as things like a rhyming dictionary if you dabble in poetry.
Are you experienced and well-informed in using the Internet? Take a look at some criteria.
Criteria for Being Internet Savvy
- Email – This is an Internet staple and usually where newbies begin. Can you name the 3 most popular Internet providers?
- Social Media – As a web-savvy person, you should know first and foremost what Social Media is. Social Media envelopes all Social Networking sites and services. Your Social Media skills should well exceed writing a Facebook status or Tweet. You should know what Social Bookmarking is. You should also know how to recognize when a website is intended for Social Media and when it’s not.
- Browsers – Another staple of Internet knowledge is the browser. You can’t get on the Internet without one. As an Internet Savvy person, your knowledge should exceed merely double-clicking the blue “e”. In addition to using your browser to surf the ‘net, you should also know the features of your browser. You should know how to clear your cache, cookies, history, view page source code, etc. You should understand the convenience of tabbed browsing. Can you name five popular browsers?
- Search Engines – Being Internet Savvy also means that you can use a search engine effectively. You should be able to find answers to questions of all types on any subject.You should understand that it’s possible to filter and refine your searches. For example, using Google, you can define nearly any word by simply typing define: and then the word into the Search box.
- Telephony – Did you know you can make free phone calls using the Internet? I thought you might.
- Forums – Message boards have been around since the inception of the Internet. These boards were vast social networks long before the term Social Media arrived on the scene. Forums aren’t too complicated, but they vary from place to place. You should know how to post, where to find the rules, how to use BBCode, and what the term “PM” means.
- Instant Messaging – Along with forums, lots of people use Instant Messaging to chat with friends, family, potential love interests, and business associates. Like Forums, Instant Messaging is an important enough part of the Internet past that modern Social Media sites like Facebook and MySpace have included these features. Instant Messaging has given us the emoticon and terms like LOL.
- Blogs – The Blogging Boom began in 2004. The number of blogs have doubled every 5 to 7 months since. There are now more than 53 million blogs. This number is long since moot. As of this writing, finding an accurate stat on the number of blogs is a crazy endeavor. The site, tumblr, has more than 300 million blogs by itself.
- Being Internet Savvy means that you know what a blog is, what blog means, and you have knowledge of a few different blogging platforms such as Blogger and WordPress.
- Domains – At its most basic, a domain is the address you type into your browser’s Address Bar to visit a specific website such as yahoo.com or stackingbenjis.com.
- Viral – Going viral is an Internet term that can apply to any type of content on the web such as pictures, videos, articles, etc. Many Internet connoisseurs try to create viral content over and over. Being Internet savvy means you understand “viral” as a term used in marketing, blogging, writing, etc. Can you name a viral YouTube video?
- Scams – Can you recognize the scams? If you can, odds are that you have avoided the Nigerian email scams, the UK Lottery, or a scammy offer on Craigslist.
This is a completely new section to this article. Naturally, there have been some major advances since this was originally posted online 5 years ago.
- Mobile web – Accessing the web via a mobile device surpassed Desktop PC use in 2015. That means more people are using their phones to access the web than they are computers.
- Responsive Design – Given the increased emphasis of the mobile user to the online landscape, having a responsive website, or one that is mobile-friendly, is now pretty much a requirement if you want to rank in Google.
- Cyrptocurrency – Have you heard of Bitcoin? Released in 2008, Bitcoin is a virtual currency that is encrypted and build on blockchain technology. As the cryptocurrency world moves forward, it will become more mainstream. There are also new currencies being created all the time. In addition to Bitcoin, you have have heard of Ehereum, Dogecoin, Dash, or Litecoin to name just a few.
- Why should you care? Well, because 1 Bitcoin as of this writing is worth nearly $2000USD. In fact, most of these currencies are worth more than $1 each and that makes them prime for trading and investing. If you happen to be one of the lucky people who invested in Bitcoin in the beginning when you could get hundreds of them for $1, you’re now a millionaire.
- Reddit – Reddit is by no means new. It was created in 2005. Originally, it fit in the social bookmarking genre of websites, but it is so much more than that. They tout themselves as the front page of the Internet, and well, that’s legit. However, I’m including it in this list because it’s not for everyone and can be a little confusing to newbies.
- Making Money Online – The Internet is your oyster. This topic has been a broad one since the Internet’s inception, but there is so much information on how to make money online that it can be daunting to find your niche in the big picture. That’s sort of what StackingBenjis.com is all about.
- TOR and the Deep Web – There’s a whole side of the Internet most people know nothing about. This is referred to as the Deep Web or Darknet. You have to have a special browser to even access it. This is where I must caution you. The Deep Web has a nefarious reputation. Supposedly, you can buy drugs, firearms, and even people in the “hidden” marketplaces. I’ve seen these places, but would never attempt a transaction. If you’re curious, YouTube has tons of videos on what it’s like on the Deep Web and what you can expect to see.
- Steemit – Steemit is a blockchain based social network. I’m a relative new-comer. It’s like if Medium.com married Reddit. Steemit is their lovechild. The main draw with Steemit is that content creators there are rewarded in a cyptocurrency called Steem. Through an exchange process, you can convert Steem to USD or the money of your country. I’ve read people who are actually making a living doing so. If you create or curate content, it’s worth your while to check it out, but you’ll have to be Internet savvy and jump through a few hoops to register.
To be truly Internet savvy, it’s always good to know at least one programming language.
I think in the future, coding will be taught in schools and will become a part of literacy much like reading and writing. Knowing how to code can allow you to accomplish truly great things on the Internet. It’s really the only way to do new and innovative things when you think about it.
Well, really, just geeks care.
This post is more of a challenge to the casual Internet user. There is so much more to the Internet than you can possibly imagine.
Owning a piece of the World Wide Web can be like owning a costly piece of real estate without a major monetary investment. It’s possible to make millions if you know what you are doing…just off the sale of one domain.
The Internet isn’t going anywhere.
As an enthusiast, I honestly feel that it’s worth my time to learn and know all I can about it. You may soon find that your employer cares, your church needs a website, your kid’s report card is only available online, and you get a huge discount if you buy your next big whatever using your Internet skills.
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