For some people, the Internet is the greatest entertainment medium that has ever come along. For others, it is the greatest business tool that man has ever known? Most of us probably sit somewhere in the middle of those two positions.
For me, I am somewhere in the middle, although certainly closer to the side of the Internet is a business tool. In my days of using the Internet, though, I have been on both extremes as well.
When I first got on the net, in the early ’90s, the Internet was mostly an entertainment medium for me. I used it a lot for educational purposes too, learning about things that I didn’t know much about. Later, as I learned that you could actually make money using the Internet, I shifted my activities almost 100% to using the Internet as a tool for earning an income. Today, I would say that I use the net about 80% for the purpose of making an income, and 20% for entertainment. Many of the things that I do to make money, though, I also find entertaining, which is a nice way to make a living. When you are doing something you enjoy, it’s like you are not even working!
I remember back in about 2003 or so. I had a friend from the US who came to visit here in Davao. I knew this fellow through the Internet, but for him, the Internet was 100% an entertainment medium. He played lots of games on the net, traded jokes and pictures with friends, and such. That was about all he did on the ‘net, although he spent many hours every day enjoying himself on the net.
At the time that he and his wife came to visit, my Internet Businesses were still rather young. I only had one employee at the time. My wife, Feyma, did a lot of legwork too. I spend most of the day on the Internet taking care of my businesses, improving my websites and such. When there was legwork to be done, Feyma did it along with my one employee at the time.
One morning, I was upstairs taking care of my work. Feyma and our visitors were downstairs having breakfast. My friend told Feyma:
I can’t believe that you let Bob just play on the computer all day long while you do the work. Bob should be ashamed of himself making you do all the work while he plays.
What my friend did not understand was that I was not playing. I was working. When I was on the Internet, I was not passing jokes, playing games and the like. I was working hard, making money. My friend is a blue collar worker, and he could not understand how it was possible to actually make money while sitting in front of a computer on the Internet. To him, I was being dishonest, because he could not fathom that I was actually doing the part of the job that made the money, while Feyma was merely taking care of the physical end of the business. Without me doing the computer there would be no money. Without Feyma doing the legwork, the orders would not keep flowing in.
I really felt insulted by my friend telling Feyma that she should not allow me to be lazy and just play all day long. But, after I had time to think it over, I realized that my friend simply could not understand what was going on.
Yes, what I do on the Internet is business. I don’t just play with the keyboard. You will never come to my office and find me playing Farmville on Facebook, or Mafia Wars. No, I don’t have anything against those who do that, I am sure they have other types of jobs and need an entertainment outlet in their lives, which the Internet provides for them. When I am in front of a computer, though, I am working. When I need an outlet for relaxation or entertainment, I do something else. I certainly don’t do it on a computer, because when I am sitting at my keyboard, I feel that I am working, and that’s not an outlet.
So, you see, the Internet can be a medium for play or for work. It depends on your personality, your knowledge, and your passion. There is nothing wrong with using the Internet for entertainment… but there is also nothing wrong with using the Internet for your business either. One thing, though… if you want to earn money from the net, you need to take what you do seriously, and give up the games and such while you build your Internet Empire.
David B Katague
Hi Bob, just want you to know you are in my top 15 Blog Favorites. There are no monetary awards to be in my top 15, but just a reassurance that you are an excellent writer and blogger. Cheers! David B.
Hi David – Thank you very much, my friend. I appreciate your kind words.
Like most people who just knew about the internet, it was firstly for entertainment and educational purposes for me back then. Games? No, I’ve never been into games really. I remember only 3 games which I got kind of attached for a while. They were: Descent, Space Cowboy, and Need For Speed. Then again, only Space Cowboy is an online game. The rest are stand alone.
The internet served more as a library of information which held me in awe as without it, I wouldn’t have accessed a lot of information which I found really helpful.
Then just this year, I learned about adsense and affiliate business. In August, while skimming along the entries in a forum, I got myself convinced enough to buy a domain not for blogging but for the sole purpose of earning some money. Henceforth, I now see the internet as a place for business where everyone who takes the time to learn the ropes could earn some money. Actually, I now think that my daytime job is what is holding me from getting the full opportunity that the internet offers. I only spend a few after-office hours doing some work on my sites and I am now earning some online income. I think I could double, triple, probably even quadruple this income if I spend more hours on it.
Yes Bob, the internet for me is business, but in a way, it’s also play because I find doing business online enjoyable and fun.
Hi James – One of the secrets of life is to do a job that you enjoy doing. Then, it’s not like work at all, but a game, as you say! I’ve been earning my living 100% on the net for nearly a decade now, and for 15 years I’ve been earning at least some money online. It’s something I enjoy doing, and I encourage you to get into it as much as you can too!
Thanks Bob. It’s definitely in my plans to go full time very soon.
Bob New York
What first attracted my attention to the Internet in the 1990’s was when commercial advertizing on TV and in print began showing their http://www.com addys. I wondered what those were and what could be found at them. In those days I found home PC’s were a bit more than I wanted to deal with as most everything was ” MS DOS ” and Windows for most people were glass that allowed you to look through your walls to the outside.
Realizing that there were millions of people. like me that at that time were computer shy, a company in California came out with a set top box that when connected to your telephone line and your TV could easily put you on the internet without a PC and its seemingly complications. The set top box ( selling for $100 for the basic version and $200 for the delux version ) was known as ” Web-TV ” and a few years later after being bought out by Microsoft was known as ” MSN-TV “.
When I realized what this device was, I bought one and subscribed to the service. You could consider the Web-TV box as a dedicated internet ” Dumb Terminal ” that worked exclusively through the ” Web-TV ” servers in California. It was simple, easy, and virus proof and even to this day still is although you can not buy them any more, the service still keeps thousands of these boxes going.
Additionally, any kind of PC or home computer in those days cost many times more than the Web-TV box cost so Web-TV was a cheap and easy way to access the internet back then. It did have its limitations however and numerous upgrades were made by Web-TV to keep it up to date with the ever evolving internet.
It was not long after having Web-TV that I discoverd there were so many things to look at on the Internet. Technical websites got a lot of my attention and I could also access Usenet groups with it. Google did not even exist back then which now links to many of the usenet groups.
As the internet evolved faster than my Web-TV set top box could keep up with, in the year 2000 I felt I had to take the plunge and got a PC. The first one I bought was from a local independent computer store who assembled their own PCs and sold them. It was quite costly but I had saved up for it in advance. This was a major milestone for me and although still on Dial-Up I felt I could now access ” the rest ” of the internet that I could not get on my set top box.
As i was employed in the commercial coin-op games business during the video game boom years of the 1970’s, using a PC for online type games did not really interest me. I enjoyed technical websites of things past and present. I could listen to radio and read news from all over the world in an instant. I could find things on websites that sold things you could not easily find in reatial stores. I could research equipment I was thinking about purchasing etc.
The next milestone for me was Broadband Cable internet. Additionally the prices on manufactured PC’s kept comming down and a now gone retailer ” Circuit City ” had some fantastic sales on PC’s that I just could not resist ! I now have 6 PC’s and a 4 way router.
For me the Internet is my pleasure. I have a full time job and I don’t really want to turn the internet into another one. I have however enjoyed selling off some of the things I no longer use on Ebay, sometimes at an amazing profit, which I guess supports my ” Internet Addiction ” LOL .
Quite by accident, I found a place half the world away that interested me and I spent 2 years researching and learning about it on the Internet. This proved to be one of the best things that ever happened to me from being on the internet. I have visited Iligan City, Philippines several times now because of this and I have really developed an attachment to the place. The Internet enables me to have a virtual visit every day.
One of my most favored websites is Youtube. You can see the real news and events of places the world over that you may not see elsewhere. The ability of just about anyone anywhere to upload video and still pics in a video format gives The World and its people their own universal TV Channel in a universal format within reach of just about anyone.
For me, the internet continues to give me entertainment, education, and if I feel I need some extra change to buy more PC / Internet stuff I sell off a few of my no longer needed things accumilated over many years, on Ebay.
Hi Bob – Ha ha… very enjoyable epilogue of your Internet journey over the years. For me, I enjoy the Internet too and I get entertainment from it, but the main purpose of the Internet for me is as a business tool. That said, though, it’s not like a job. I enjoy what I do a great deal, so business is also pleasure for me using the Internet!
Thanks for sharing your journey, Bob, I enjoyed it a lot.
True words from those who have attained/maintained a balance. I think if I had to work full-time online, depending upon it as my only source of income, I’d get really bored and annoyed at the way some things work. But boy, if you keep it in perspective, it can really be fun and very entertaining.
I guess becuase the baseball season just started I’ve been seeing a lot of ads for fanatasy baseball league sites. I can see where that would be a lot of fun … but not for me. Why would I plan, work, worry or connive to try to make a fantasy team succeed, when instead, I can just log in my bank or Paypal account and see how my own ‘reality league’ ventures are doing? Work? I’d do this 20 hours a day just for the challenge of it.
Your story about how your friend completely misunderstood what you were doing on your computer is a big issue that must be taken into account/planned around. People just don’t realize what you ‘are doing on your computer’. They won’t figure it out on their own, you have to gently educate souses, children, friends what exactly you are doing. And don’t mix play with work. Otherwise, you might get confused yourself 😉
Hi Dave – I am often confused anyway, so I certainly wouldn’t want to do anything to further confuse myself! 😆
You know, even though, over the years, I tried many times to educate my friend and show him that I was in fact working when I was on the computer… he never was able to pick up on it and understand. To this day, he thinks I am a lazy guy who let’s my wife do the work! 😉 It bothers me that he thinks that about me, but I do not believe I can change his opinion… because I have tried and never been able to succeed!