•  •  Dark Mode

Your Interests & Preferences

I am a...

law firm lawyer
in-house company lawyer
litigation lawyer
law student
aspiring student

Website Look & Feel

 •  •  Dark Mode
Blog Layout

Save preferences
An estimated 12-minute read

The legal geeks guide: from slave to king of the Internet

 Email  Facebook  Tweet  Linked-in

Did you notice? You sit on your computer thinking of doing something productive, and end up spending a lot of time on the internet – maybe on Facebook, maybe reading tweets, watching videos, looking at funny images and advertisements, sending mails, befriending and chatting with people or even reading some random blog. Imagine inside your head: a gigantic net, which is very, very sticky, and imagine yourself like a fly stuck in that net. That is internet for you. Are you getting stuck?



Probably yes, and don't blame yourself for that. Two decades of research, creativity and innovativeness of scientists, programmers, marketing professionals, artists and hackers have gone into creating and developing this extremely sticky net. It has so much of data, entertainment and information which has been custom built for you that you can never get through all the interesting stuff out there. You are not only reading, seeing and watching: Web 2.0 ensures that you are also taking part in creating more and more sticky yarns where new flies can get stuck. Internet is not your Sunday Newspaper that you will get through all the interesting articles, comments and insights on a lazy afternoon. Be careful. Are you getting trapped into the wonderful super-stickyness of the Internet?


You already know, I'd guess, that Internet can be a big barrier. Many people disconnect the LAN cable when they want to concentrate on pending work; or sometimes just switch the laptop off. It can definitely get worse, and many people suffer from a range of negative effects of spending too much time on the internet: starting from anxiety, depression, eye and back problems to a total lifestyle failure. However, more commonplace is the feeling that you have wasted a lot of valuable time on the internet doing things that you did not realy mean to do.


The solution, I'd say, must start from a good understanding of the problem. Have you ever realised that those addicted to the internet are actually enslaved by thousands of smart people who use the internet to snatch away some time from everyone and make millions in the process (if you count all of them, the industry is worth billions). When someone makes a good useful thing, it makes perfect sense to use it – because you are benefiting from the use. It is the right thing to spend some time on a good webpage, because you get some value out of it. However, things get complicated when you start using the internet unconciously; not because you need it, but because it feels good and you are in the habit of spending time online. You sleepwalk through emails, webpages, social networking sites, and before you knew it, your time is gone.


Just wake up! Look around and understand what is going on. That facebook quiz or the emoticon is not just a cute little thing – it is a money making tool for someone somewhere who knows there are thousands like you who will think it to be a cute little thing or irresistibly interesting, and spend their time hanging around in their websites, applications and online stores.


This is not how it needs to be. You can take control of the web aggressively. Use the internet to improve your life, not to give your time away to others so that they can make money from it. They value your time in terms of hard currency (or paypal account figures), do you value your own time?


There is no end to the power of internet – you can transform your life with it. It is sheer magic. Hack it (in the ethical way, of course! Read about what hacking means here. Read about my favourite hacker here and see how internet has been hacked to help students to prepare for law entrance exams here) and you could be a millionaire, learn from it and you shall find that it is the best teacher ever.

However, if you really need to read this article to know this, I guess I should also tell you where to start. It is important to have a target in your sight as you make a move to benefit from what you shall read here. Think for yourself, what is that you have been wanting to acquire very badly over some time now, but have been falling short of it constantly. Maybe it is learning a new skill – like baking a cake or something more complex – learning a language. Maybe an easy way to recover from your hamstring injury. Decide what you want to achieve using the internet. For the purpose of illustration, I shall assume you want to learn Spanish and you are an absolute beginner.


Become a finder: Search engines are the most powerful hacks ever. Everyone says information is power, but no one never knew what that really means till search engines like Google bloomed!


Think for a moment: why is google such a business empire? It all started from one thing – a great way to search the entangled web. It brought together a lot of information in an organised way, and it does that best till today. It is so big because of the value it creates for everyone who uses it. Use google right and you shall see your life has begun to change. Why? I shall give you a very strong reason.


It is highly unlikely that your problem, your situation is abolutely unique in this world. Probably someone else encountered that problem, that question before. Maybe they found an answer, or made some progress towards solving it. Wouldn't it be nice if you could just take their insights and solutions and apply in your situation, or start improving from where they left? These days, chances are high that the solution or the answer has been kept online for you to find. You can find it with a search engine. Some people know this, and that's why soemthing that looks as simple as google search is a superpower if you know how to use it. It combines your thinking, innovativeness and ingenuity with that of many others all around the world. It brings to individuals the information and the ideas that they can use to build something more valuable than the existing forms. Remember this, and start looking for solutions to your problems online. There's more useful things here than one can imagine.


Instead of wasting you time planting money trees for others on the internet, start looking for the information that can change 'your' life. I believe that everyone can change their life with the right set of information – but what will be the right information that depends on the person. Also, no one but the person himself will know what is the right information, and when he sees it, he will know it.


If you are yet to master searching, start this way. Make a list of five of your problems. Try to find the solution through google search. If you dont find at once, try changing the keywords. Using the right keywords is very important, and it takes a while to learn to find things on google only for this reason. This is your first step in learning to find solutions on internet. Make it a habit to look for things/solutions on google. With time, you will become a great finder of information. I will repeat, that in itself is nothing short of a super-power.


How can you use these insights to learn a language like Spanish? Firstly, Spanish is a very popular language all over the world, and there are millions of people learning and teaching spanish. There is no dearth of teachers or study material for learning Spanish. The best of it is paid, but a lot of good stuff comes for free. It is not only reading material, but you must look for audio files as well as videos that will assist you in learning. Apart from materials, you shall find there are several online forums for learning the language, where you can interact with co-learners, Spanish speakers and teachers willing to help you out. Locating none of these will be vey difficult, but deciding what works best for you may be more tricky and usually takes some time.


For me, a mixture of the following worked the best: daily newsletters from about.com, livemocha.com (you have paid stuff in this website, but a lot of resources and the forum are free. You can submit your assignments for other people knowing that language to rate and correct your mistakes as well), and a paid course from learningspanishlikecrazy.com (I paid about Rs. 2000 in Indian money for some awesome audio files for self-learning, much lesser than what I would have paid for a Spanish course in any langauage school, not even taking into account the time I would spend in going there, availabiliy of classes etc) and when I compare this to my attempts to learning a foreign language from a brick and mortar language school, I only feel that I have found a wonderful solution.


Become a giver: While it is a great thing to use Internet and google like a your private genie to solve the problems, on an advanced stage in your interaction with the web, you should be able to solve problems of others and give answers to questions that others are asking – on your blog, or webpage, or maybe on Facebook or Squidoo. When you are doing these things, you know you have a purpose of using the internet. You are free, not anymore chained to the self imposed chains of activities - like checking mail, replying, archiving, opening facebook, taking a quiz or reading a blog because you have nothing better to do. You would not feel like reading those silly articles if you had better things to do. many of the ridiculous Facebook quizzes that are so captivating now will turn out to be very boring. You will use the Internet now, and not let yourself get used on the Internet by strangers on their quests to make millions.


And then, you shall want your content, your blog or webpage to be found on the Internet by strangers from all over the world who may be interested in what you are writing, saying or performing. Then again, you can use google like a genie to ensure it takes your work to all the people out there.


With respect to Spanish, this will entail writing about your experience of learning spanish, the tricks you discovered, the courses and the habits that worked for you, the forums that you loved. You can write a blog, you can help people who are beginning to learn, and could do with some guidance on forums and social networking sites. This will cement your own learning as well and help you to meet a lot of new people pursuing similar interests as you are.


Join in the conversation: Everybody who matters is present on the Internet. Once you are free from the cyclic patterns that the average Internet-slave follows, you are an enlightened being using the Internet for growth and prosperity. Now you can join in the conversation. You should be using search engines properly and you would be on the way to become a master finder, and naturally you would be encountering a wealth of information, insights and greater things everyday. You would know you are doing it right when you would find it yourself because you want it rather than the content coming and finding you in your inbox, facebook wall or desktop without you ever asking for it.


Now you would certainly not be so bored that you shall have to take quizzes or open facebook once in every half hour to check if you have got another wall post or friend request. However, this is the time you shall start finding truly great people on the web – maybe people writing blogs, talking in webinars or developing things you want. You shall find yourself in conversation with them – sometimes on social networking sites, at other times you shall write your own blog, make podcasts or hold webinars to reply to theirs. You will not only learn from the masters out there on the web, but you will teach them too, and those others who care to listen. Realisation will dawn on you, and not at all dramatically: you are no average Joe or Jane born to serve the empire of Internet. Your time has come.


Join in the hunt: Whoever said hunting is illegal these days, had no clue. Today's internet is a great hunting ground: for knowledge, for skills, and for profit. All the time people are joining their forces on the Internet to bring about great things. After you have gone through the last two phases, you can be one of the hunters. Sometimes alone, at other times in collaboration with others like you, you will find solutions, create and teach hacks, moving and shaking things around internet. How would that be made possible? If you use search engines effectively, you will be privy to cutting edge knowledge and information that very few care to look for. You would be able to keep track of the best in the web, and the best of the web is normally really powerful stuff! You can find what you want quickly, you can pick up a new skill in a few days, you can have a readership. If someone comes with a problem to you, you can fix it up, or at least provide a direction. You can network on the Internet. And when you collaborate with other denizens of internet like you, great things could take place.


There is a huge demand on the internet for skilled and unskilled work. There is scope for starting your own venture as well as providing a service against money. There is demand for almost all sort of work - creative writing, photography, video editing, online marketing. You can learn almost any skill, and make money from it. The most well known places to look for work are craigslist, guru.com, elance.com etc. However, operating profit can be much higher if you can locate job yourself, or even better, if you can become an online expert on your area and let your customers / possible partners find you on the internet and approach you with work.


Click to show 4 comments
at your own risk
By reading the comments you agree that they are the (often anonymous) personal views and opinions of readers, which may be biased and unreliable, and for which Legally India therefore has no liability. If you believe a comment is inappropriate, please click 'Report to LI' below the comment and we will review it as soon as practicable.