My father and I have an understanding: he doesn’t do anything on a computer without checking with me first, and I don’t attempt to do anything more than put gas in my car without checking with him. It’s a symbiotic relationship that works for us, but it’s one that makes sense because no person can be an expert on every subject out there.
This is a lesson that those of us who live, breathe and eat the Internet need to remember just a bit more often.
Last week there was a post on ReadWriteWeb entitled “Facebook Wants to Be Your One True Login“. It shot up the search results of Google for anyone that searched for “Facebook Login”, and what followed will become the stuff of Internet legend.
People that go to Google to get to the Facebook login page clicked on the ReadWriteWeb story, and they were confused when it looked nothing like the regular site. Seeing a Facebook Connect box, the users logged in there with their credentials, and then found they couldn’t get to any of their usual areas of the popular social network. They simply did not realize they were on the wrong site and they started leaving comments, thinking that they would be read by Facebook staff.
That is when we, the denizens of the information super highway, started to point and laugh. How could these people be this stupid? What are they, idiots?
No, they are your average, work-a-day, Internet user, and as much as you may dislike it, they have as much right to be on the Web as we do.
I recently wrote about how the iPad is for the masses, and that the technology bloggers and fans seemed to be judging it based solely on how it didn’t live up to their standards. According to the latest statistics, there are 1.7 billion Internet users in the world, now how many of them do you think have the slightest clue what an address bar is in a browser? What “URL” stands for? What a proxy server is? I mean, honestly, how can we allow people to use the Internet if they don’t know these things?
Well, it’s fairly simple actually. You all are allowed to drive you car, but how many of you know how to change the oil? Do you know where the spark plugs are?
We are technology enthusiasts, and the Internet is what we love, and I am sure everyone of those people we looked down on last week for how “stupid” they are can probably run rings around us in a subject of their choice. It could be knitting for all I care, but I would still bet they know a subject backwards and forwards that none of us do, just like they don’t know the Internet.
The Internet is not our exclusive playground, and instead of chiding those who don’t know their way around as well as we do, how about we help them and make them think we’re a friendly bunch. Do you really want to be likened to that kid who sat in the back of the high school classroom only reading car magazines, and no one wanted to associate with him because he was “weird”? Well, that’s the way we’re headed if we continue to think of people who don’t understand the Internet as well as we do as some sort of lower life form. They will log off, go about their daily lives and tell people, “Oh, you don’t want to go on the Internet, they’re just a bunch of rude, unwelcoming, weirdos.”