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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Net Usage – Where Are You Going?
Wednesday, June 28, 2006

This weekend I lost something that wasn’t even mine. After six months of enjoying the benefits of an unsecured wi-fi connection the people who had it moved out of my building, leaving me back on dial up. After only a few days I’ve already noticed something fairly major, my time spent online has gone down drastically. Many would assume that with everything taking longer I’d actually be spending more time online, but the fact of the matter is I’m now skipping all the frivolous online things that aren’t really necessary and going straight to the meat of what I’m looking to do. In realizing this I was made to ask myself the question, how well have I been spending my time online?

As a freelance writer clearly I need the internet. Almost all of my work is submitted via email. Some of the web surfing I had been doing, however, was simply unnecessary. If it isn’t my myspace page, a celebrity news site, and yes for me celebrity gossip is considered news because I work in entertainment, sports news site, hard news site, or quality blog, there really isn’t much of a point in me going to a site when I’m on dial up. Yes, having hobbies is great, but they shouldn’t be taking up the bulk of my online time. So I’ll check my fantasy teams, read about what happened on RAW, and perhaps check The Onion, but do I really need to do more than that? When I was on wi-fi I spent far too much time on sites that weren’t furthering my career, now I’m much more focused because I want to get on, do what I need to do, and get off. Who wants to waste time when wasting time takes so long?

Yesterday I also made my life easier by signing up for the email lists for a few sites that I would like to frequent, but keep forgetting to. The email list is the quickest way to reduce online time. You can read the headlines in your inbox and then decide if you need to go to the site to find out more. This is also something I feel a lot more people in Hip-Hop need to start doing, signing up for some real news sites. From the comments I’ve received regarding my recent posts it’s clear that the majority of the readers are only taking the time to look at Hip-Hop publications and sites. We will never go further if we don’t educate ourselves. Of course the corporate man will have something on you if you refuse to get on his level. This was something I was speaking with a friend about last week and also applies to the idea of net usage.

What sites was I going to? Were the majority of the sites helping me gain knowledge? This is a question we all must ask ourselves, especially all the young entrepreneurs out there, myself included. If you have a limited amount of time to spend on the net you spend it more usefully. Eventually I will get high speed back, but I plan on changing the way I use it. The internet shouldn’t be all about enjoyment, the majority of the time we spend on it, and by we I mean people of my generation and my place in the business world, should be spent finding ways to network and learning what’s really going on in the worlds we work in. The Hip-Hop world is a lot bigger than just the sites that supposedly cover it. I posted up a link to an AdWeek article in the comments section of the Jay-Z Shuns Cristal post that broke down how little an impact Jay’s boycott will be having. When I first said the boycott would have no impact because his fan base couldn’t afford the drink multiple message boards killed me, but now AdWeek has the stats to back up my assertion. How many other Hip-Hoppers are going out there and finding their information from such sources? I’m here to tell you the time to step it up is now.

As my slow dial up connection plods along I am quick to see that the internet, for all its glory, is like a sea of billboards. Some are pretty, some are colorful, few are useful, and the ones that are will stick around for a while. Once we stop spending the majority of our time looking at the billboards that only feature things that are pretty and colorful we can get to something that may have some substance for us. Remember substance? There’s a lot of good food on the net for our brains, the problem is we’re too busy eyeing the cake and candy to go get the real nourishment. Much like food, with the internet we need to find the good stuff, feed off of it, and try to avoid the harmful snacks that may seem enjoyable but are really only making us slow and listless.

There is no rule that says learning stops when school is over, there are only people who stop learning when they get out of school.

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