I’m So Much Cooler Online!

By Don 

Thanks to Paisley’s eye-opening docudrama about the world of Internet communications, we now know that people are not always in person who they appear to be online.

As Paisley’s drama unfolds, we meet a guy who is short, chubby, mildly asthmatic, who drives a Hyundai, and still lives at home with his parents.  He is completely inept with females.  However, when he goes down to his bedroom in the basement and fires up his Mac laptop and clicks into MySpace he becomes a mysterious and handsome, 6’5” ladies-man that drives a Maserati, and lives in Malibu.  In real life, he is a pizza deliveryman and in his online life, he models for Calvin Kline and GQ, and he is very rich.

Obviously, the synopsis is not from a docudrama.  Country music fans will recognize the story from country music artist Brad Paisley’s “I’m So Much Cooler Online”, (click the title to view the video on YouTube) a funny song and hilarious video.

Though the song is a parody about one man’s transforming online experience, it does make a great illustration to point out that we must be very careful surfing online.  It is possible even for the informed to fall prey to a well planned Internet scheme.

I doubt there is a person reading this post that does not have a story to tell about a negative experience surfing online. Maybe you bought something that was not what it appeared to be, or met someone who turned out completely different, or maybe you clicked on an advertisement that unleashed a virus that crashed your computer.

Keep in mind the old saying, “If it looks too good to be true, then it probably is.”  I typed this saying into Google to ensure I was quoting it correctly, and I was amazed to find article after article regarding illegal and illegitimate Internet schemes. In the United States there are not many laws in place to deal with these issues. Many illegal Internet activities cross over countries and continents, making prosecution difficult or impossible.

Don’t get me wrong the Internet is a wonderful place to search for information, socialize, play games, conduct business, and make some great purchases.  Just be careful and be smart when you’re surfing.

Spend some time learning more about the dos and don’ts of surfing the Internet, and why some websites are better than others. When it comes to meeting people or socializing, facebook (especially FRL’s facebook page) and MySpace seem to be very popular.

If it is information, you are interested in, look to NC LIVE.  It is a great website where you can search for magazines, newspapers, journal articles, electronic books, historical materials, maps, and much more. You can also find up-to-date peer review articles about almost anything.  If you are interested specifically in medical information, MAHEC, Mountain Area Health Education Center’s website is a great place to look.  They have all sorts of articles regarding consumer health and patient education.

If you are looking to make the deal of a lifetime, purchasing anything from collectables to brand new cars online or selling just about anything; you will have to do some research yourself to find the website that best fits your needs.  Just remember the old saying, “If it looks too good to be true, then it probably is.”  One good suggestion is to use the more popular websites.  We have numerous links to many good websites on the Fontana Regional Library‘s website.

Additionally, we have a number of books available at our libraries with topics like Internet safety and your children, safely surfing the Internet, social networking on the Internet, buying and selling on the Internet. I have listed a few of the newer titles below.

A smart girl’s guide to the Internet: how to connect with friends; find what you need, and stay safe online – Cindrich, Sharon.

Is it safe? : protecting your computer, your business, and yourself online – Miller, Michael

Selling online 2.0: migrating from eBay to Amazon, Craigslist, and your own e-commerce website – Miller, Michael

Brad Paisley
A photo of me wearing my new hat.

It is impossible to cover very much information regarding safely surfing the Internet in one short blog post. I hoped with this post to at least peak your interest and let you know there are some bad people on the Internet doing bad things. Knowledge is power!

Safe Surfing!

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