In 2012, 2.4 billion people worldwide used the Internet, 274 million of them from North America. An estimated 634 million websites were in existence, and the amount of time that people spent on the Internet had surpassed the amount spent watching television.
The Internet has obviously become an immense part of our daily lives.
With the growth of the Internet, not only are there more avenues for entertainment, but there is also a whole host of opportunities for users who want to express their creativity, communicate with others, or gain experience in a number of areas. Through anything from blogging to designing websites, anyone, regardless of age or training, is able to participate in the global community that the Internet has become and contribute by creating their own unique content.
Here's a look at some of the options Top of Utah teens can pursue to make their own mark online.
Merriam-Webster defines a blog, or weblog, as "a website that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments and often hyperlinks provided by the writer." Many bloggers specialize in certain areas which they are passionate about, such as politics or fiction writing. Others may blog about their own lives for the benefit of themselves, their family, and friends. Regardless of the topic, blogging can be a great way to gain writing experience and can lead to forming new connections with other Internet users.
If you're interested in starting your own blog, there are a number of websites containing helpful information for beginning bloggers, from advice on choosing your topic to building a community of readers. There are also a number of websites, such as Blogger.com, that allow users to set up their blog on the website, choosing themes and layouts from a number of options. Such sites make it simple for new bloggers to create their blog and start publishing content to the web.
Like the blog, a video blog, or vlog, is another way to communicate your thoughts and ideas on the Internet. As one could presume from the name, however, this form of blogging utilizes video recordings rather than the written word.
Vlogs are immensely popular online, with such people as the "Vlogbrothers" John and Hank Green and vlogger Charlie McDonnell gaining international fame and millions of views through their YouTube channels.
Like blogs, vlogs may specialize in a particular area or may document the thoughts and/or life of the vlogger. Nearly everyone is capable of making their own vlog; all you need to get started is a camera and basic video editing software. Although YouTube is overflowing with aspiring vloggers, making it difficult to be noticed, vlogging can be a good way to exercise your writing, speaking and video editing skills.
For the more technologically minded, another option for creating content on the Internet is to design a website.
Though creating a website can involve some investment, such as the money necessary to register a domain name, it can be a valuable way for those interested in web design to gain experience and establish themselves as designers. The Internet is full of tutorials and step-by-step details on the process of creating a webpage, so once you have an idea for a site and have decided that you're willing to dedicate the time and effort necessary, you don't have to search hard to find the information needed to design a new site.
* Web show
An emerging facet of the Internet is that of web video and, more specifically, web shows. A web show is much like a television show, usually in an episodic format, although each installment is generally much shorter.
As technology has expanded, independent producers have become more able to affordably write, film and produce web series which are then available to viewers on popular websites such as YouTube for no charge. Current popular web shows include such series as "The Guild," "The Lizzie Bennet Diaries" and "Hipsterhood."
Professional web shows generally require expensive equipment and technology but creating your own show can be a fun way to exercise skills in a variety of areas. A lot of work goes into creating videos, from writing, to acting and directing, to editing. Though you may not be able to hire professional actors or purchase fancy cameras and microphones, you and your friends could have a great time creating and filming a story while simultaneously gaining a better understanding of the work involved in making a web show and honing your skills.
For music lovers, the Internet has also forged new methods of distributing your music. A number of artists have been discovered through their involvement online. For example, Boyce Avenue, an alternative rock band, became well-known after posting covers of popular songs on YouTube. Their most popular video, a cover of Rihanna's "We Found Love," has nearly 30 million views. The Internet has become a new venue for emerging artists to be discovered and to gain a following.
Overall, the Internet has vastly changed the way we disseminate information, enabling people to communicate with others in spite of time and distance. Along with these changes are new opportunities for average people to share their ideas, network with other individuals, and gain experience in an array of fields.
After all, with a community of more than 2.4 billion people, the Internet is no small place; within its vast expanse of data is a niche and an opportunity for everyone.
Kalli Damschen is a senior at Clearfield High School. She is passionate about reading, writing and her Christian faith. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.