The Information Super Highway
By Denise Gallimore

Want to know how to earn millions on EBay? Or how to flirt? Tie a tie? Be like Bill Gates? Or even Britney Spears? Well everything is a click away; there are millions of websites dedicated to guiding you through the little uncertainties in everyday life.

The ordinary man can become a superhero by being able to find a how to guide on becoming one. The How to/DIY revolution has infiltrated every facet of our lives. Wanna know how to fix that sticky drawer or how to assess whether you have a lung injury? Just go to your nearest search engine. There is actually a how to of How to, How to. How cool is that?

The information revolution is so comprehensive it begs the question, how did we function before? With no Google, no Yahoo, no Wikipedia? For centuries civilization has had to stumble its way in the dark trying to figure out just how to. How to make cylindrical object that will revolutionize transportation or how to conjure glowing hot matter for warmth.

Now, as a child of the eighties I can remember having to physically visit our local library to undertake hours of research through actual encyclopedia just to find out about corn or the history of a country or for anything else for that matter. I have much younger siblings and the stories of my foray into our local library to spend hours rifling through books for information, elicit shudders of horror. Not being able to access information in 5 minutes or less is the stuff legend!

I'm not sure if having all that information at your finger tips has made better students, though. The information highway has spawned the copy and paste era of research. If I got a dollar for every time I've heard teachers complain about this phenomenon, my bank balance would be black rather than red. Not to imply that plagiarism is a new idea and probably due to the development of programs to better identify it, it seems blatant. I can wholeheartedly say I do not begrudge our teachers.

I was a Teaching Assistant in college for a year and it is not an experience I would like to repeat anytime soon. Marking my first set of papers I was amused at the lifting rate, by the end of the semester I was resigned to it. I won't even mention the abundance of IM lingo, u wld tink they wld no better (you would think they would know better - for those not up on IM speak).

I'm sure as technology advances we will be looking back in a few years thinking these were the good old days. My child or grandchild will be shuddering at the horror of actually having to type out what one thought. Beam me up Scotty!

If there is one group that has benefited from the increased access to information (No, not the Google guys) it would the consumer, you and I. The How to guides has educated and empowered us and has leveled the playing field between the service provider and the customer. No longer are we forced to smile and nod at a technicians gibberish, no longer can an expert keep a consumer in the dark or even overcharge for doing a task. The consumer has all the information he or she needs to help on any project. The How to guides shows that you are not alone out there.

So, I'm off to Google my name and join the 47% of adult internet users who have done the same. I can't wait to see the results.

Denise's Ramblings can be found at http://www.denisenicole81.blogspot.com

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