Since the outset of the online world, the most defining aspect of online group discussions has been the uninhibited way that participants let loose with their anger. “Flaming” is almost as integral to the Internet today as linking.
Do you have a parent, grandparent, or other relative who wants to join the computer cognoscenti but who doesn’t know a mouse from a rat? Are you such a person, with no computer experience but who really wants to go online to see what the fuss is all about?
Deviations from the truth vary. Someone might neglect to tell the whole truth by omitting important information, exaggerating to impress others, downplaying the significance of something known to be crucial, saying something in a deliberately ambiguous way to provide an out, or telling a barefaced lie.
How do others view you? Creating and managing others’ impressions of you or your organization is what the industry of public relations is all about. The digital age has spread the need to consider PR beyond big organizations and public figures. These days creating a good impression, or a bad one, can be as easy as a few well placed, or poorly placed, mouse clicks.
Email has been around forever, it seems. The first working email system was created before the Internet in 1965 to connect users at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The first popular email system for connecting corporate users across different locations was cc:Mail in the 1980s.
Web-based email had its genesis at the same time the Web exploded into popular consciousness, in the mid-1990s. Compared to using an email program that resides on your own computer, called an email client, with Web-based email or Webmail you use your Web browser to connect to a server of a Webmail provider and exchange messages that way.
In accessing the Internet, first there was dial-up, which topped out at 56,000 bits per second. Then, in the 1990s, came digital subscriber line (DSL), with a common download speed of 1.5 million bits per second.
If you buy a new PC, laptop, or netbook computer today, it probably comes preloaded with Microsoft Office 2010 Starter Edition. This is a significantly limited, advertising-laden version of Microsoft’s suite of productivity programs, Microsoft Office.
One of the lessons that every school child learns is that you shouldn’t believe everything you read. This applies doubly to the Internet, where anybody can play expert and put up definitive-sounding information at Web sites, blogs, discussion groups, and elsewhere.
It’s no secret that you can find some of the best and the worst in human nature in online discussions, whether in Yahoo Groups or Google Groups discussion lists, company Web forums, personal blogs, online communities, or elsewhere on the Internet.