Think of this as Volume 17, Number 3 of A-Clue.com, the online newsletter I've written since 1997. Enjoy.
These often feature pictures left on Facebook of people being young and stupid. Young and stupid are sort of synonomous.
But it's true. People have been fired from jobs, or lost an opportunity for advancement, because some biddy saw something they wrote or said online that, in the clear light of day, they probably should not have written, said, or had photographed.
I would hope that, over time, as this medium becomes a natural, normal part of growing up, we might be more forgiving of this. The whole argument is pretty stupid.
You can learn anything on this medium, and there's a shortage of curiousity. More important, anyone can start a career, in anything, using this medium. It's shameful that more don't take advantage.
The key to understanding is related to what I wrote recently concerning the news business. The Internet is about depth. It's not about breadth of knowledge, it's about the depth of knowledge you can bring to any specific task. Mastering the nuances of the one thing you care most about will make you the expert, the only choice, and the master of your own fate.
Have you ever thought of creating a wiki? You don't have to post it. You can do it locally. But go online and find everything you absolutely can about whatever it is you care most about, no matter how obscure it is. Organize that information so others can drill-down more easily than you did. Build outlines, do summaries, create a catalogue of the people who show themselves to be truly expert.
Absorb it all. Then, when you're ready, add your own two cents. Go to the sites you've identified as influential and, based on your reading to date, make your own views known. Respectfully. Using your own name. Admit that you're just learning, but say that you want to learn more.
You will be amazed at how welcoming real experts are when they're approached in that way. Anyone who learns enough about something wants most of all to teach it, to pass that knowledge on. So listen, and organize what you collect, so that when you speak again it can be with a little more authority.
As with everything, there are even shortcuts you can take to make all this easier. Here is one. Remember that the narrower your focus, and the deeper you go inside that focus, the more specialized expertise you will develop.
Before you know it you'll be an expert in the one thing you most want to be expert at, and respected in the one area where you most want to be respected. That's the opportunity this medium affords, to the recent college graduate. Take the opportunity.
Then, when you've absorbed all everyone else knows, advance things just a little more, and be willing to teach those who come after you. Do these things and I guarantee you'll be happy, you'll be satisfied with your life, you'll be useful to others, and you'll be a true citizen of the 21st century.