It amazes me how many ways I have come to use the internet.
I think one is only limited by one’s imagination. I tend to think of the internet as the ultimate reference library combined with ways to connect with an incredible number of real people all over the world.
1. COMMUNICATION My first use of the internet was BBSes (Bulletin Board Systems). When I moved to Holland in 1987 there was a left over phone node from the defunct General Electric factory that connected to the Web. I immediately began telnetting and subscribing to what were called listserves.
Since then, I have developed a reliance on the tech to keep me in contact with the people I care about and am interested in. I have web cammed with grand kids in California, adult children in the U.K. & China. I use online chat, Facebook and Skype regularly.
2. LIBRARIES This is one of the most amazing things to me: connecting with libraries online. Then searching their catalog and catalogs of libraries they subscribe to. Then ordering the materials.
3. INFORMATION This morning I was reading some letters to the editor in the New York Times online and googled a couple of the writers. I was able to learn enough about them to understand their perspective a bit (One guy was a registered Republican and the other worked for Walter Cronkite for a while).
Yesterday I learned online of the death of two people I am interested in: Paul Manz the respected church musician and organist and Claude Levi-Strauss the influential anthropologist. I chatted back and forth on Facebook with a church musician that I have never met face to face but have connected with for several years online. We discussed Manz. Later I pulled out my copy of Levi-Strauss’s interesting work, “Looking, Listening an Reading.” While reading the first section of this book, I pulled up web sites with copies of paintings he referred to and decided I wasn’t exactly sure what the phrase “trompe l’oiel meant so I looked it up online (it means “trick the eye.)
Checking information online is a huge asset. Of course one has to keep one’s crap detector on full alert. (Howard Gardiner’s term)
4. A ZILLION INSTANT RESOURCES I regularly look to the Internet for actual copies of music both historical/classical and popular. There is a ton of copyright free historical music out there thanks to IMSLP (International Music Score Library Project). And there are places to download sheet music for reasonable fees. Recently I had a wedding reception gig for which I had requests for tunes I didn’t know or have access to. I combined a trip to the local library in person to browse with some online purchases of music (Alicia Keyes and Elton John).
I also have taken to using Amazon’s mp3 downloads. This week I was working on some Saint -Saens and a unfamiliar Bach violin sonata. I was able to download MP3s of the movements I was interested for .99 each in seconds. Not bad.
I also regularly purchase copies of books online, preferably used but not necessarily. I also belong to a Book Exchange online. This is an organization of readers who trade books through the mail. (Link: Paperbackswap) And I download free copies of books to my netbook to read. I use http://manybooks.net/ but there are others.
I bookmark articles and web sites I look at right online so I can access them from any computer. I use Diigo but there are other ways to this. I also follow several hundred people on Twitter from my computer. This enables me to find interesting information and people online.
I also do my banking online. I’m sure I have forgotten ways that I regularly use the internet. But it amazes me everyday.