No, no, no, trust me... I'm collectively intelligent

The internet’s always been a great place to learn things you didn’t know before. In the beginning, it’d be seen as the ‘easy way out’… but to be honest, I don’t believe that’s the case anymore. There’s a real art to using the internet to your advantage.

On a serious note, it’s absolutely critical that we understand how the internet is both a bane and grace for learning. Let’s take an easy example: your web browser has stopped saving your settings. Everyone knows how painful that really is: your bookmarks are gone, you have to log in to every website again, and your internet experience has depreciated. First logical step to solving this issue?

1. Search the internet for the problem.

This is the way to go. Most people would probably search ‘how to keep web browser settings’ or something of that value. It’s not an unfair assumption, after all. It’s not like Google doesn’t pride itself on the fact that it is the biggest indexed database to ever exist on the internet. There’s nothing inherently wrong with looking to Google as a place for answers. There is a problem, however, in using Google as a replacement for retaining information in the long-term.

2. Fix problem with new information.

You’re staring at the browser with your newly-found information, and you put it to the test. Hours of tedious labor and after a moment… you’ve done it! Your hard work has come to fruition, and you bask in the glory of victory. Your problem is solved, and optionally, you move onto step

3. Retain the knowledge for future reference.

This is the important one that is the basis for this entire post. It’s just like the old proverb: “Give a man a fish, and he’ll be fed for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he’ll be fed for a lifetime.” The goal of the internet should be exactly that: learn something new and keep it in the reserves for later.

The internet’s power as a resource for answers is often cited also as its greatest downfall. Just like with real information, virtual information has to be checked again and again for validity. All of the above points work excellently for true information. That being said, it’s also an obligation we have as internet community members to validate this information and ensure that the above checklist is actually able to work in the first place.

This article originally appeared here.