Originally published in The Clarion | February 23, 2011
If you are like me, there are times where we feel like we have reached the end of the World Wide Web. Whether we’re experiencing a day of boredom or are searching for a piece of information that we simply cannot find, frustration can quickly set in when we feel like we have reached a dead end. There was a television commercial a few years ago for an Internet Service Provider where a middle-aged man, dressed in his robe and munching on potato chips, had wasted his day away online and did just that – reached the end of the Web. Although the commercial was a bit misleading (no ISP should provide more access to the Web than another), it was quite comical and representative of what many of us experience far too often.
Of all the things the World Wide Web is, one thing that it isn’t is thin. According to WorldWideWebSize.com, the Web contains at least 12.83 billion pages. Think about this for a moment. A typical novel (at least the ones I read) may be two to four hundred pages in length. Using a nice round number of three hundred pages per novel, at 12.83 billion pages the Web contains the equivalent of 42.77 million novels. Talk about a staggering statistic, yet all too often we feel we have reached the end of the road when browsing the Web. The reasons we feel this way are most likely simple ones.
For starters, it is human nature to want to read or learn about things that interest us. For some, it’s sports – for others it might be genealogy. Odds are good that unless you work in the field of nuclear physics you most likely won’t spend any time reading about it online. The same holds true for television viewers – although you may have one hundred or more television channels, surveys tell us you typically only watch fewer than ten of them on a regular basis. Again, it’s simply human nature.
Another reason why some people may only visit a fixed selection of websites on a regular basis is that they simply don’t know what is out there, or they don’t know how to broaden their Web horizons. Search engines on the Web have evolved drastically over the years. Some even claim to be “decision engines” instead of “search engines”. Thank you but I don’t want your site making decisions for me. That aside, knowing how to phrase a specific search can greatly increase your chances of finding what you are looking for. It’s definitely not rocket science, but a minor hurdle nonetheless.
In the upcoming weeks, we will take a look at some websites that I find to be useful, entertaining and informative. My goal is to help you broaden your Web horizons so you can make better use of the plethora of information available to you online.