|The Small Business Library|
October 22, 2000
Valuable Lessons for New Cybernetters
Beware the Cybersharks
To the unwary cybernetter, there are tremendous dangers lurking in the turbulent waters of the Internet. Speaking mainly from my own experience, and from untold hours of surfing the Net, I have come to realize that the Internet is full of sharks. These aren't the teeth toting, man eating type, nonetheless, these cybersharks are quite capable of inflicting great harm on their prey.
These predators will cross all boundaries to make a kill. Their favorite morsels by far, however, are the brand-spanking-new cybernetters going for a swim, looking for a new opportunity to better themselves or their family, hoping to make some money with an online business. They especially love the newbies sitting in front of their computers with credit cards in hand.
These sharks use unscrupulous tactics to persuade these unwary beginners into believing that, should they decide to swim with them, they will become millionaires in no time. Boy, they sure are persuasive!
As most experienced Netters know, the bombardment of offers and opportunities are an endless source of aggravation and turmoil to be dealt with on a daily basis. The key to avoiding 90 percent of these shark-inflicted migraine headaches is in acquiring a savvy education as to what to look for, and by all means, what to avoid online.
Searching and researching using the Internet can be a very enjoyable and rewarding experience, whether young or old. The Internet truly is the information superhighway, and then some. It can provide assistance in almost every facet of life, from reference information to history. Whatever topic we choose to explore, the Internet provides a smorgasbord of past and current events on subjects such as news, weather, sports, health and much more. Not to mention the plethora of technological information that is sweeping the world, all available at the click of your mouse. It doesn't take a psychic to get a glimpse of the future of the Web. It can only continue to grow.
However, a savvy online education as to what to do and what to avoid is very important.
Consider these important Do's and Don'ts:
Cyber Surfing Tips
Dealing with Spam
First off, I hope you realize that I'm not talking about lunch meat. Cyberspam is another term for unsolicited commercial email. My personal definition is ANY unsolicited email. Spam is a fact of life on the Internet. It can't be eliminated, but it's annoyance factor can be minimized. The easiest thing to do from the beginning of your time online, however, is to accept the fact that you ARE going to receive your fair share of unsolicited email, just like everyone else does.
It's like opening your mailbox at the end of your driveway and finding it full of junk mail. You don't necessarily like it, but do you go stomping into the house cursing heaven knows what, then call the post office with a bomb threat if they don't stop sending you this junk? Of course not. You throw the junk in the trash, or at the least in the neighbor's yard, and that's the end of it. Right? (Unless your neighbor sees you.)
I know there is nothing worse than checking your email to find your box full of all these great offers that are going to make you rich, or teach you what a fool you've been for paying Uncle Sam taxes all these years. The bottom line is, it's junk mail just like Ed MacMahon sends out every year... the only difference is, he has to pay postage to get it to your mailbox and Cyberspammers can do it free with the click of a mouse. (I bet that makes Ed irate.)
But my whole point is -- remember the delete option. You can make spam trash just as quick as it was born. And really, it's easier than disposing of junk mail, you don't have to buy plastic bags.
As when entering any new culture, following the accepted mores will help ensure that your first encounters with Cyberspace are exciting and adventuresome and will minimize the heartaches and hassles you may face as you learn to navigate the Net. Above all, relax and enjoy!