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Common Sense. Don't Surf Without It.

It is a beautiful Saturday morning and your friend Stacy has invited you to stop by and check out her new shop at the Space Book Bazaar. As it is such a beautiful day you decide to walk the few blocks, take in the sights and get a little exercise. You head out on your way, but figure you should probably stop off at the bank and deposit your tips from bartending the night before.

Being such a gorgeous day you get a little caught up in day dreaming and wind up taking a right towards the Tenth National Bank instead of a left. You catch yourself and think that this might not be the correct street, but up ahead you see a building with a big sign that reads "Tenf Nationel Bank". Do you go in and hand them your money?

You move on down a side street when a man wearing a mask runs up to you, hands you a box and runs off. You think to yourself, "That kind of looked like my friend Bob." Do you open the package?

You continue down the side street and come out at the entrance to the Space Book Bazaar. Not entirely certain where Stacy's shop is, you start meandering around the other stalls. Just then a man jumps in front of you screaming, "You have cancer! For $19.95 I will cure you." Do you believe him? Do you pay him?

Deeper into the bazaar you wander. The sights and sounds and smells are overwhelming. Some pleasant, others disturbing. The shops are as varied as the products they offer; ranging from neatly laid out fresh fruits in proper wooden stalls, to Genuine Rolex watches for sale in tents, to who-knows-what being sold from inside a van with dark-tinted windows. Do you stop at any of the stores and go in? Which ones?

Out of nowhere a crowd of people pass around you screaming and hawking their wares; a hand reaches out towards you from the crowd and you feel the sharp sting of a hypodermic entering your arm. Then the crowd is gone. Was that a pinch or a needle prick? You can't be sure now. Do you look for a police officer? Do you seek medical attention?

Welcome to the Internet.

I am fairly certain that most people would apply a little common sense to each of the above scenarios (I would hope at least). You would turn around and go to the correct bank, you wouldn't open the package, you would pass right by the lunatic shouting about you having cancer (and certainly wouldn't pay him), you would pick and choose which shops, if any, that you would browse through, and, hopefully, you would be a might bit concerned about possibly being injected with some foreign substance and would report it. Yet on the Internet, you don't. Well, maybe not you, but most of you.

For years people have used the excuse of computers being intimidating as a rationale for not applying common sense. Instead they say, "I didn't know," and are strangely happy with that. When the Internet was new that was an excuse. Now? Well now you shop, bank, date, and look at nude people performing all sorts of strange acts on the Internet. You are no longer intimidated by it. That excuse is gone.

Common sense applies everywhere. Not just on the streets. Not just at work. But on the Internet as well. That is what makes it "common", instead of street-smarts or business savvy. You do not need to be a technical genius to apply common sense to computers and the Internet. All you need is... Drum roll please... Common Sense.

This has been a public service announcement. We now return you to your regularly scheduled blogcast.

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