As I was surfing recently, I thought – as I frequently have – that most of the phrases and idioms used today would be incomprehensible 100 years ago. Surfing, as related to the internet, came into use in 1993; Google (verb or noun form) would make no sense, nor would anything larger than a byte (bite), or (proxy) server, software, bandwidth, broadband, wireless, W-Lan, binary, bit, blog, blogosphere, browser, cookie (within the virtual context), cyberspace, domain, download, Email, Ethernet, intranet, extranet or internet, FAQ, firewall, network, GIF, hit, home page, host, and the list goes on! I’m sure people at IT meetings could carry on entire conversations that would be utter gibberish to someone from the Roaring Twenties.
There are also phenomena that have arisen with the dawning of cyberspace and virtual reality; while the internet has opened up the world to those who know how to use it wisely, it’s also given room for things like nonsense gone viral or video tutorials by everyone and their cats and dogs. Another consequence of the internet is the rapid dissemination of (mis)information; this is how urban legends arise: Before verifying authenticity, people pass on the gossip, fake news or report; soon it’s been seen so often (and refined along the way, like any good fish tale) that people begin to believe it as proven fact.
Examples of urban legends are: Alligators in the sewers of New York; Facebook privacy notice (that by posting a legal notice on your Facebook wall, it will protect your copyright and privacy rights); Giveaway hoaxes (usually someone wealthy, like Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg), and that Facebook will start charging for use.
Another thing that has arisen is actually an old habit gone virtual: Life Hacks. Before the dawn of the Cyber Age, such tips and tricks were passed down through generations, or from one neighbour to the other. Now in the global village in which we live, life hacks are taught to us by people in Moscow, Sierra Leon, American, Japan, Argentina, and everywhere in between. You can learn how to peel an entire head of garlic in 1 minute (it works, too!); how to turn a tin can into a camper stove; 50 ways to use a plastic drink bottle besides holding liquid; how to turn drinking straws into mini sealed containers for travelling; how to use pop tabs for anything from keychain loops to picture frame hangers to jewellery, and a thousand other hacks for the kitchen, household, wardrobe and travels.
If you’d like to learn a thing or two, below are a few links to life hack videos on YouTube; I’ve watched each one, and found interesting tips myself:
“48 Must-Watch Life Hacks” (23:00)
There are hundreds more where those came from!
My point? Appreciate the fact that you understand most (if not all) Cyber Age gibberish; check your facts and avoid passing on or believing urban legends, and enjoy the benefits offered by such modern teaching tools as life hacks, instruction videos and tutorials online!