There are people out there, believe it or not, that just don’t know what the hell to do with the internet. The average person spends several hours a day connected, and yet if asked what they did the entire time they were online most people, I think, wouldn’t even know what to say. Everyone gets basic features like search engines, Google maps, or even Google Earth, but when it really comes to actually using the Internet to find content that we will like and appreciate I think the vast majority of people are still doing it completely wrong. This, my friends, is your salvation: a quick guide to some of the best websites out there for using the internet as it’s meant to be used: wasting time productively and hilariously. Don’t question my logic.
StumbleUpon – Ever heard the phrase “surfing the internet?” Most people take it to mean making random searches or following links on the few websites that we frequent, then stumbling into other websites that may or may not captivate us. Unlike “channel surfing,” which is well defined by a pre-established bracket of channels (ie. 1-99, or 1-999 or what-have-you, depending on your cable provider) surfing the internet is a practice that is too often unsuccessful because of the sheer amount of content that awaits us. Let’s face it too, a lot of the stuff that’s out there is total crap and, unfortunately, could even be a ghost from Internet’s past – that is, one of the thousands of Geocities sites that plagued our online existence for years when the internet first went mainstream.
Enter StumbleUpon – a website designed specifically for ‘surfing the internet.’ You create a profile and tick a bunch of boxes that relate to things you’re interested in. For instance, I ticked off photography, film, entertainment, video games, etc. because these are the things that interest me most. Once you’ve taken 2 or 3 minutes to create an online profile with the website, all you need do is “Stumble!” Clicking the STUMBLE! button, then, uses your interests as a guide and instantly directs you to a semi-popular website pertaining to these interests. After a cursory view of the site you can either “Like” the page to save it in your StumbleUpon history, dislike it to better teach SU your interests, or simply click Stumble! again to get your next taste. Even better than this is the fact that the sites approved to appear on StumbleUpon are ones that are recommended and liked by the sites own users so you’re almost guaranteed to be spared anything horrible. Amazing!
If you’ve never used StumbleUpon it is an absolute must for internet users, and I would encourage you to get on it straight away. DO IT!
Pinterest – Pinterest is gaining steam/popularity for all the right reasons: it is completely dependent on your own expectations and usage of the website, and can be tailored to each individual person. Pinterest is a website for creating ‘pinboards’ online. Simple, right? Once you join Pinterest your first task is to set up your very own virtual pinboards – as an example, most people create a board to horde everything they find online that they think is hilarious. Once you’ve created your board you can either browse Pinterest by category (humour, etc.) to view things that other people have pinned to the website, or you can use the “Pin it!” button that can be installed in any web browser to pin any image, video, or website to your online boards. While this might all sound overly simple or a waste of time, consider this: have you ever found something on the internet that you liked? Of course. Have you ever went to look for it again, perhaps months or a year later and not been able to find it? What about wanting to share things you find online with friends? And what if you make your own content and want to see if it will take off? Pinterest. Pin it!
At the very least give it a try – there is literally something for every single person out there on this website… and if the off chance that there isn’t and you’re just that original, you can Pin It yourself and share it with the world. Conversely, you also have the ability to make “private boards” for anything you want to keep a secret (wedding plans, baby stuff, disgusting fetishes etc.).
Reddit – Amounting to basically a bulletin board system, Reddit users post anything and everything, from pictures to video, opinions, news, and even music. The posts are then voted on by users and the site’s main page is populate by the most popular, viewed and liked. In addition to this, users can sort posts by hot, new, controversial, rising as well as the top posts of all time. Suddenly internet pop culture is making a little more sense, right?
Cracked – Touted to be America’s Only Humor Site, Cracked.com is a collection of writings from highly skilled comedy and satire writers. The articles, typically, take the form of lists and are about as funny as anything else you’ll find on the internet. While the sort of humour is a little vulgar, to those who don’t take exception to the occasional F-bomb, Cracked’s articles are well worth your time. From The 7 Most Ridiculous Rough Drafts of Famous Brand Logos to its mind-blowing Images You Won’t Believe Aren’t Photoshopped pieces, Cracked should be a staple in any and every internet user’s repertoire if not, simply, your browser’s homepage. Get on it, thank me later.
Now, while I do realize the popularity of these websites, this post is written purely for those people who are not already in-the-know. These four websites I consider essential to the internet experience, and I want to share them with you and those less fortunate… because staring at a screen without great content, online or not, is something that no one should have to suffer through.