From a young age, I’ve loved the internet. I have always been fascinated with the way you could spin something into existence, publish a thought you had just moments before, and impact the world – even if it is just to those few lives around you. It was the medium through which I first became an artist. I used to publish “blogs” in high school when I was still using a text editor to write my sites. I also distributed information – I would put class resources online for my friends to access. I remember always being fascinated by the statistics of how many visits my site received daily.
Another component of the internet that I’ve loved since being a teenager is the transference of cross-discipline knowledge. Going through college I chose the route of a computer scientist, then went towards business, before settling on studying photography. It’s always been hard for me to choose what I want to learn about!But with the internet, I could study architecture, statistics, programming, social sciences, and leadership. I was, and am still, devoted to learning. Today I’m consumed with theology and data science. The world is smaller than ever.
I’m writing this to remind you, and myself, of two things. First, to remind you of the vast resource that is in place around us. You can learn about anything you want to, at any time, almost from anywhere. This does not mean you can be whatever you want to be, but you can at very least be knowledgeable and start the journey. With the tool of the internet, many journeys you take, you won’t finish. But almost always you will be better for it.
Second, not to get wrapped up in becoming – learning, growing, toiling, working, striving, gaining – that you miss out on the real world. The internet is not the real world. For many of us who spend much of our days on computers working (I create digital marketing for a living) the internet often transcends reality. I wake up thinking about work, and I actively need to renew my mind to stop this. So as much as you can learn, work, and grow online, please turn off your computer, put down your phone, or better yet, leave your phone at home. Get out there, be in relationships, mature in life and not only online and in your head. For the adage still stands – it’s not what you know it’s who you know.
But in the end, it’s not who or what you know, it’s how you impacted lives.