EJM Designs Limited Blog

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Stop Looking at My Internets!

I've got this gig filling out surveys that earns me a $25 GameStop gift card every couple months and whilst earning a nickel or two towards that goal today, I came across this question:
On the average, how often do you look at or use the Internet in a typical month?
This, of course, gets one thinking.

The internet, by its very nature, cannot be seen. It cannot be touched. Hell, to be real about it, myself and other designers and developers deal daily in an unmanifest impermanence that could be completely wiped from the face of the Earth with a couple well-placed EMPs.

You need an intermediary tool - like a computer with a browser - in order to interact or "use" the internet. But you do not "look at" the internet. It can "look at" you through your webcam, but that only becomes an issue when the internet becomes sentient and then, well, SkyNet and all that. Now that I think about that I probably shouldn't have purchased a laptop with a built-in webcam.

So what did the person who put the survey together really mean by that? Granted, the response "Jacked in 8+ hours per day" was not an option, so I had to go with the toned-down "5 or more times per day." But if we're counting "look at," do we count when I glance at the computer screen as I walk by with my Hot Pocket to let my dog, Gracie out? If I hear TweetDeck "blllruug!" at me and glance up from the other room, is that considered "looking at" the internet?

Realistically, I don't care. It was a silly survey and I'm guessing an English language barrier is to blame. Even the Southern usage of "look at" meaning "watch" ("We were looking at a video") doesn't fit. But there is a point to all this speculation and rambling:

Communicate clearly!

Granted, if you are conducting surveys of your customers, you should not be doing that yourself, but in all your communications whether through email or on the phone or in person, your best reception is only as good as your worst grammar. Be clear and deliberate in your communications, and - perhaps most importantly - make yourself available for any questions, comments, or clarity.

Do it right the first time and if you flub it be accountable. That goes for many aspects of business, but communications especially.

And always remember that there is nothing to fear but fear itself, velociraptors, zombies, and, of course, SkyNet.

Watch them watching you looking at the internet.

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