The internet and the
World Wide Web are great places to be right now. We use the term
"place" because so many of the things you can do online
are similar to the things you can do wherever people gather
together--in homes, schools, libraries, shopping
malls, or at family reunions or town meetings. The Net allows
people to learn, shop, find crucial information, and to participate
in communities, whether they're local, global, or simply virtual.
In these chapters that we've written about the Net, the World Wide
Web, and Yahoo!, we hope to convey just a little of the excitement
we feel when make our way online ....
But Is It Useful?
The Web is useful: You can find old friends
online. You can research and book flight reservations. Check the
weather. Check out your high school or college alma mater. Find
breaking news. Research political issues. Follow your stock portfolio.
Place a classified ad. And, of course, more and more vendors are
setting up shop on the Web. Books, CDs, Computers, even Cars. You
can learn how to do some of these activities in later sections of
The Internet is also fun. You can write to old
friends. Or check out their web pages. Enjoy web-based soap operas.
Laugh at online parodies and jokes. Join in a live Net
Event. Chat with other Internet surfers. Pick a fake stock
portfolio. Check to see if your name appears anywhere on the Web. Do
wacky random searches. Millions of users log on to the Net every
day, and it's not just to do research. There's a lot of fun out
there. That's one reason it's called web "surfing".
I'm Just Browsing
Of course, the first step to using the Web for
business or for fun is learning how to work a "web browser."
If you're new to computers, it may take awhile before you are
completely comfortable with your browser. Don't worry. You don't
have to be a computer whiz. The basics
of a web browser are very much like the basics of modern
computers--learning how to point and click with the mouse
(or trackball or trackpad or other pointing device), learning how to scroll up and down
a page of text (use the mouse to move the marker along the shaded
bar at the right of the page, or just hit the space bar on your
keyboard), and learning how to use pull-down menus.
Again, be patient. There's no time limit on web surfing. Give
yourself a chance to explore the browser itself while you explore
Bookmark Your Territory
One of the most useful features of web browsers
is the "bookmark" (or
"favorite place"). If you come to a web page that you find
particularly interesting or useful (like Yahoo!), you'll probably
want to come back to it again and again. The easiest way to do this
is to have your browser "remember" the address. Different
browsers have different ways of creating bookmarks---some use
pull-down menus and others have buttons right on the screen.
Once a bookmark is created, you can then easily
return to that web page by pulling down the bookmark menu and
selecting the appropriate entry. Another good skill to learn is how
to edit the text of a bookmark. The default
text for a bookmark is contained in the web page you're book-
marking, and it's not always the most useful title. By editing the
bookmark text, you can make sure that your bookmarks are clear and
effective. The point is: Take the time to learn how bookmarks work
in your browser.
Ready, Steady, Go!
So, after starting to learn how your browser
works, where do you go? What do you do? There's no right answer to
this one. The Internet doesn't have a front door. But there are lots
of ways to get started. Make a book- mark to an Internet guide like
Yahoo! or a search engine
like Alta Vista or Lycos. Explore. Search for web sites about one of
your hobbies. Fishing. Mountain bikes. Crosswords puzzles. Find web
sites about your hometown. Follow links
to other sites listed on the site you're visiting. Just go find web
sites. Read them, bookmark them, print them out. Send the URL's (the
web address) to friends. Ask friends and coworkers for
recommendations. Now you're networking. Now you're surfing the Web.