Continuing the theme of Internet woes, part two of this three part series on Internet woes will discuss two more troubles of the Internet: online auctions and shopping and endless web searching (see part one for a two other troubles).
● Online auctions and shopping. It is easy to get caught up in buying things online. It’s even easier when you buy from the same companies who conveniently store your credit card and account information for quick checkout. What used to take hours and days of going store to store or to our favorite mall, now takes a matter of minutes online. I love shopping online. The convenience of browsing and comparing multiple products and the ease of at home shipping makes buying online such a joy. Often, products bought online are cheaper than those purchased in the store. Problems arise, however, when online shopping gets out of control. A room full of new electronics and closets full of clothes can’t make up for the pain of maxed out credit cards and depleted bank accounts.
Online auctions using companies such as Ebay can be equally as addictive as shopping at online mega-stores such as Amazon. You can find a lot of really great, hard-to-find items through online auctions. As Weird Al Yankovic, a pop artist, puts it, online auctions are like a “worldwide garage sale.” While the adage, “what is one man’s junk is another man’s treasure,” may hold true, it is easy to get caught up in the excitement of bidding and winning auctions.
● Endless web searching. Have you ever been searching for something on the Internet, but had trouble finding it? This may not happen often, but when it does it can be frustrating. We are supposed to be able to find anything on the Internet, right? Just the other day I was searching online for some computer statistics that I had read a few months earlier, but forgot the link. I was having trouble finding the information using all of the popular search engines (I used www.ask.com, www.google.com, www.msn.com, www.yahoo.com), and before I knew it, I had spent almost 45 minutes searching. The information was important to me, so I spend another 15 minutes looking before finally giving up (I’ll find them another time). What caught my attention was how quickly an hour of searching for just one thing went by. Yes, I did learn about some other neat stuff about operating systems and such, but was it worth the whole hour?
The biggest worry here is the amount of time spent searching. With so much information available, we have to learn where our individual limits are. For those who have attended college, it is similar to that Biology 100 class from your freshman year. The instructor assigned so much reading was impossible to complete it all even if you devoted 24 hours a day for the whole semester to just reading for Biology. We have to prioritize and skim through some things. As my one hour of searching taught me, we also need to know when to say, “enough is enough,” and move on to other things.
Check out part three of this three part blog series for a few suggestions for preventing or overcoming struggles with online shopping and endless web searching.