How to Help a Beginner Explore Possibilities on the Internet

This is a gift article sent by a friend:

I created this post as a result of my own very recent experience – which I thought may be of help to others.

I have been working on the Internet for a few years now; and feel pretty much settled with what I do. I am happy working through the day; sincerely trying to learn new things and getting better at it everyday while on the job. But until I reached here, I did not know things will fall in place like this, so quietly, without making any noise or music. When I meet old friends after a gap of several years I can catch the surprised “how you got here, girl!” glimpse in their eyes; and I absolutely love and enjoy it.

I was in a regular traditional sales 9-8 job, and as many others was fed up & tired of everything other than work. Whether it was boss’ mood swings impacting my appraisals; or aligning with people I could not identify with – I was uncomfortable with all that. And finally when I could not take it any more I quit the day job.  I am sharing my sob story because I wish to help people who are facing similar situations at work, or are looking for alternate job/ career options for whatever reasons.  I want them to know that it is possible to start anywhere, irrespective of your educational and work background.

Working on the net is nothing like deciding to become a teacher, doctor, programmer, or an engineer in the traditional sense. This is a different medium altogether which the job or career seeker has to explore on his own, not much scope for spoon feeding or parental or professorial guidance whatsoever; and since its a pretty new ball game, there aren’t many traditional hardbound books on sale either; no colleges are teaching or offering degrees or diplomas to people wishing to work online, that thing of the sort I mean.  Here books are to be chosen, bought and read online, colleges, courses, and careers are pursued online, banks are online (for paying a fee for joining an online course as well as receiving remuneration when employed later).

And all of us are more than familiar with this not-so-new-anymore technology. In spite of being a `technology’ it has managed to find its way into everyone’s lives (from 6 to 90 year olds – everyone is online, some checking mails; others playing bingo!) like nothing in past ten years has.

Majority of us are associated with Internet in some way. Computers have become an essential and everyday part of office as well as personal lives. Almost all of us have an email account; and an account on at least one of the social networking sites; which we use for connecting and chatting up friends and long lost relatives and cousins, publishing pictures of our newborns, holidays, and what not. This is the cross-road where most of us don’t bother to think what beyond; and simply do what most average people do, leave it at that.

Most of us never think of exploring the medium beyond what is offered to us on a platter. Some of us do go online to catch up on sports, gossip, or to find information about the health issues and the medicines doctors are prescribing for us; and so on, but when it comes to working online not many of us give it a thought or have a clue as to where to start and how to go about it. And this is where my story begins.

After being online for a few years I was very keen to introduce my husband to the possibilities of finding something worthwhile to do on the Internet. I was certain that once he got in, he would love the virtual world. Being an ardent wildlife buff I knew it would take him no time to fall in love with the spiders here too! And since the spiders on the net are wrapped in software, I was ready to bet my last dime that as soon as he saw one, he would be hooked. But “how to get them close to each other” was the big daddy of all questions.

I tried a few times, we talked for a while but I could never really succeed in holding his interest. He was also a busy guy chasing targets; with barely weekends to spare, so after discussing it for a while, we would just let it be. Since he was seeing me work online; work hard; giving pleasures of life a miss every once in a while for meeting work deadlines; he had no doubt it was serious business and that it needed certain level of commitment; he was more than open to exploring the medium, but I could never find a solution that would hit the bull’s eye; and us find an answer to the “where to start” question.

Whenever we’d get down to a discussion, in theory things would eventually boil down to building and maintaining a website… which to both of us sounded real HARD, BIG, and NEW work (keeping his erratic and tiring work schedule in mind) that nobody would feel enthusiastic to do, with a 9-10 hours’ job; who had the time to spare? And for God’s sake…mind deserves a break too.

So another few months went by. My husband’s love for every new technology, that hit the market, whether it was in the mobile or in the automobiles category, kept my faith on the roll; and I knew that he was a tech savvy guy waiting to find his treasure on the net.

Being comfortable with technology in general makes it one thing less to cope with for people who work online, because existence of net-world is thanks to technology and needless to mention that it changes and upgrades itself on an ongoing basis. So having a hang of technology is a huge plus and advantage for aspiring online workers. But per chance if you are not a techie, there is little to worry; as long as you are willing to learn nothing is a problem; because when I started I was a big Zero too, and second thing, finally the game changer for my husband comprised software that required no technical knowledge or expertise and it was as user friendly as anything can ever be.

One day I thought for sometime and introduced him to blogs. Creating his own first blog for free and publishing his own headline and changing the fonts and colours a few times thrilled him to bits. He was excited to have a space to himself on the net, for which he was not paying, which was absolutely legal and he was free to experiment on it for as long as he wanted. Similar free blogs were earning millions for others across the globe so the day he would find his calling he’d be on his way, the same blog will turn into his money machine. So it was not something like he was wasting time learning the techniques on a free dicey blog.

It looked easy because few important things were taken care of by the software; like he did not have to learn designing a website, and still his blog could looked pretty good once set on a ready themes; he did not have to worry about learning and implementing SEO that sounds quite heavy for a beginner. To begin with he just started exploring the medium, doing small posts, and then learning to publish photos did the trick. Gradually he started visiting other blogs to add more punch to his own and to generally learn more about blogs. He was soon on his own, making mistakes, learning the ropes. Now he writes, edits, deletes, & re-writes his post until he gets what he wants; which means he is also learning to write & gain confidence to publish his posts. Since he does not know about Writer’s Block, it never comes in his way!

He is already learning about blog rolls and before I know it he’d be learning to market his blog. Once he is feeling more in control and is a little more comfortable with the medium we will do some brainstorming to decide finally what he should do on his blog. He is a self leaner and a quick one at that, so I won’t’ be surprised that by the time we meet to discuss it he has already learnt to find answers to his questions; which means his research skills are improving already! If things move at this pace for a few months; if his interest remains intact (which I think will) for one year, I am confident he will have a thing or two to teach me.

I have realised that blogs are a great tool to introduce beginners to. They are user friendly software; which come with several built-in software within them; they provide a lot and at the same time offer scope for bloggers to learn a lot too. Most of all they are very interesting, and sound least academic or work-like. It’s made in a way that encourages learning. It’s a whole new world in itself. Once the person becomes interested, he will explore things on his own, while he is at it he would learn that it’s hard work, and will take time. By the time he is ready to take off he’d know the realities first hand. My husband is a proof of that. God knows what will he finally do on his; what will his look finally look like; whatever it is, one thing is sure – that it is going to be an exciting journey for both of us.

I wish everyone wanting to explore the world on the net finds his/her place in the sun. Just give it time.  Internet is the largest democracy in the world, be a part of it.

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