My Mom’s best friend just got on the Internet. Yup, she’s got herself a computer, a dial up connection and a web browser. I think its fantastic! My parents, who have been Internet-savvy seniors for the past few years (mostly because both their technology-professional kids made them!) helped her to get set up and showed her the ropes. She’s pretty enthusiastic about the whole thing, and I think that’s great! This is a whole new world for her to explore.

The problem is, there is SO much information out there. Computers are almost a different language, and one that many of us in the under-40 set take for granted. After all, they’ve been with us most of our working life. For anyone under 25, they probably don’t remember NOT using a computer. And anyone under 10? Well they never knew life BEFORE the Internet! Now, consider someone over the age of 60, getting online for the very first time. Blogs, feeds, Twitter, Facebook, eBay, Flickr…huh?

So I want to do something for my Mom’s friend, and anyone else out there who is trying to navigate this Interweb thing. Here’s my “Beginner’s Guide to the Internet”, Chapter 1.

Until one understands the lingo of the Web, they will be lost. So let’s start with some definitions.

Hyperlink: Commonly referred to as a “link”, usually colored or underlined text, a picture or a button that you can click on to access another web page, or video, or sound. Links are the foundation of the Internet, and to this day the most fundamental and powerful thing about it. It’s the ability to connect information to other information.

Surfing: Using a web browser (such as Internet Explorer, Netscape, or Firefox) to look at web site content.

Search Engine: A web site that allows you to search for other web sites, using keywords. The most popular search engine is Google. The Runner up is Yahoo.

Googling: When you want to find something on the Internet, like “Crocheting Patterns”, or “Beef Stew Recipes”, you go to Google and type in these keywords in the Search box. This action is referred to as “Googling”.

Blog: A personal diary online. What you are reading, right now, is my blog. I can post new stories, links, and share information whenever I want. People can subscribe to my blog so they can get updates whenever I write a new entry. They can also write comments on the entries they see in my blog. Blog is derived from the word “Web Log”. You can find lots of interesting blogs and even make your own blog at or

Post: Blog entries or comments are referred to as “Posts”.

Instant Messaging: Also known as IM or Chat. Using an Instant Messaging program such as Windows Live Messenger or Yahoo Messenger you can chit chat with friends who have an account on one of these tools. Setting this up requires installing a bit of software and setting up an account, more on this in a later post.

Well that’s it for starters. I’m not out to overwhelm anyone. This is the basic set of information one needs to get up and running, to be able to search for content, and contribute to conversations, two of the key features of the Internet.

Surf on, my friends….surf on!

3 Responses

  1. Thanks for the info….for someone like Sandy it needs to be really basic…logon..logoff..cursor…I’m glad to report that Sandy is having a ball..she stays at home a lot because of medical problems and having e-mail has opened new things for her. Once she has e-mail under her wing she is looking forward to “Surfing” the Interweb?

  2. Every single day we deal with seniors of all kinds of computer knowledge and skill sets, and to be honest, I admire their pluck, but there a loads of them — just like people from all age brackets in general — that shouldn’t be anywhere near a computer. Those are the ones that call us day and day out to ask us how to send little Suzie an email using hotmail. Oy ve! 🙂 It’s certainly a challenge some days to help out those who are just starting out with the Innerweeb, but as many newbies as there are out there, there are far more that are even more experienced with computers than I am, and I work in a computer store. Hee.

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