There’s no denying that the Internet is being used now more than ever. Will we ever stop using it? I doubt it. Just think about what your life would be like without it. I can imagine myself in complete disarray not being able to connect to Wi-Fi or use Safari from my iPhone for a quick search. How else would I know what time Zaxby’s closed on Sundays or when the Beyoncé tickets were scheduled to drop? The Internet is so important now, many jobs (including mine) wouldn’t be jobs without it. What if you met someone that had never used the Internet before? How would you explain how it works? As simple as it sounds to “do a quick search”, the nature of how the Internet really works can be overwhelmingly complex.
Starting with the basics, we all learn about browsers. We know these as: Internet Explorer, Safari, Chrome, and FireFox. From there we can access websites and search engines. Good ‘ol Google being the most popular search engine, is simply an online data base. Type in words or topics to search, and Google will find the websites that correlate to your search. Yahoo! and Bing, other popular search engines, work the same way. This is the simpler side of things.
Journalists have to know a little more. Well, a lot more. Mark Briggs pretty much hits the nail on its head in his 3rd edition of Journalism Next: A Practical Guide to Digital Reporting and Publishing. We are Web workers now! Especially in the field of journalism.We have to be extremely Internet savvy if we want to be successful in the field. This especially applies in my field of Public Relations. I currently work at a PR tech agency where our laptops are basically the entire job. Knowing that clearing your browser’s cache will help your system run better or how important RSS is when organizing web content are just a few things that can help a journalist maneuver more efficiently.
Then there comes the joy of HTML and website design! I don’t know how well my sarcasm comes across in my writing, but let’s just say finally learning how to code websites properly felt like completing a mission to Mars. Let’s call it tedious, to say the least. Being responsible for updates to the company website via WordPress has definitely taught me a thing, or two. Considering how complex HTML can be, WordPress actually makes it rather user-friendly. But of course, just like everything, it takes practice. Learning how to input GIFs and tables where definitely a few of my small life victories.
In a nutshell, learning how maneuver through websites and software is just one of those skills that any journalism professional needs to acquire. Remember, this field is super competitive and people pay for efficiency and skills they don’t have. So it’s up to us to figure out how to get them exactly what they’re asking for. Yes, even if that means purchasing the entire “For Dummies” collection!