Tuesday, January 12, 2010

2010’s “Don’ts”

thumbsdown In last week’s post I did a list of things I believed Nigerians should do with information technology, particularly the internet, in 2010 and the newly started decade. This week, I’ll do the reverse – a list of things I think Nigerians shouldn’t do in 2010 and beyond. Again, in no particular order, here goes.

1. Don’t spend too much on the social web. I heard tell of someone who was so addicted to Facebook, she would check for updates on her wall while driving. Facebook was consistently in the top ten list of sites visited during office hours in my company. The use of social websites including Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter and their ilk has exploded over the past few years. Even existing services with no real social component are trying to introduce some kind of social element. This is only the latest in a long list of addictive web trends. Unlike others, the social acceptability of this (as opposed to porn, for instance) makes the potential consequences (RSI, time wasted, disconnection with the real world, tweetering while driving, etc) less obvious.

There is value and benefit in social interactions on the internet. I have reconnected with long lost friends, discovered valuable services and built some relationships due to the social web that I would not have otherwise. Still, if you go into a depression because no one has “friended” you recently or if you need to tweet about every bowel movement, you need to re-evaluate how you use these sites. You’re going to far. Someone online suggested going on a social web “fast” to detoxify your brain. It’s not that bad an idea.

2. Don’t go online until you have a fully functional malware protection system. That’s clear enough. Aside from AVG Free, Avast Home Edition and a few others, Microsoft has also released their own free malware protection tool called Microsoft Security Essentials. These basic tools provide “good enough” malware protection, but to have fully integrated suites that provide comprehensive protection across most fronts, you should shell out some money on the likes of Norton Internet Security Suite (which comes in an Africa specific version and pricing), the full AVG suite, PC Antivirus, Sophos, MacAfee of one of several top qualities suites. Another solution is to simply change from Windows to Linux or Apple which have much fewer incidents of malware.

3. Don’t use a computer without backup tools. I won’t say much more than read my post on the subject. However, to put it in perspective, it isn’t only from computers that we can lose data. I lost a number of significant pictures last year when I lost my digital camera and people lose contacts all the time when they lose their cell phones. Most electronic gadgets today are data centric, and come with means to back them up.

4. Don’t do internet crime. There’s this place in California called Silicon Valley where the brightest minds on the planet work to create products that will shape the world through internet and other information technology. I am absolutely convinced that the “Yahoo boys” have the smarts to do the same. Let’s turn our remarkable Nigerian minds to creative, rather than destructive genius.

5. Don’t leave your children online without a chaperone. This current generation of Nigerian kids are the internet generation. As the MTV (or Channel O) generation was shaped by music videos into what they are, today’s teens and pre-teens will be shaped into adulthood by the web. That is both a glorious and a horrific thought. The glory is in working with them to ensure they get the best the web has to offer and avoid the worst. You cannot keep them away from the web or the web away from them you can only hold their hand (or not) as they go exploring.

6. Lastly, don’t visit this this blog without leaving a comment. Seriously guys if you can make it through the blog itself, you can take a few minutes to type in your thoughts on what you read.

So what are your thoughts as to what to do or what not to do with tech and the internet in this new year?


Image courtesy of Zigeunerweisen at www.Flikr.com