Love Online

Looking for the newest way to meet people? Want to expand your circle of friends into the rest of the world? Want a relationship without entanglements? Join the Internet crowd in Cyberspace. It had to happen, computers turning into our link to virtual friends and lovers. It’s the “now” way to solve the age-old dating dilemna.

The whole process is not without pitfalls. The Internet has opened up the singles scene farther than ever before. Now it’s possible to meet someone across the world, carry on a romance, and get dumped, all without leaving the comfort of your home. Not that all online dating is going to lead to dumping, but it can happen, just as it can happen in face-to-face, as-we’re-used-to-dating relationships.

Michael Wolff, publisher of popular Net books including Net Chat: Your Guide to the Debates, Parties and Pick-up Places on the Electronic Highway, comments about the Internet scene: “It’s not a whole lot different from a singles bar, it serves some of the same purposes, except it’s cheaper, safer and you don’t have to dress for it.”

Words of caution come from Kathleen Sands, associate editor of Net-Guide magazine: “Meeting on-line has some of the same problems and pitfalls of meeting through the classifieds… Someone can write amazing love letters, but when you meet face-to-face, there can be disappointment.”

And this from Judith A. Broadhurst, author of The Woman’s Guide to Online Services: “I heard from so many women who met their husbands on-line… that I began to wonder if anyone meets in any other way anymore.”

Her words of caution regarding chat-rooms include, “People will pick up on your desperation just like in the real world… Go where you are likely to meet people with whom you have something in common.”

Should you use a computer to find a date or new mate? No. Should you use a computer to meet new people and expand your world? Yes! Whether or not you ever visit a “chat” room or browse the singles listings, going online will take you to places you never dreamed possible!

Meet Me At the Computer Store

To get started, you’ll need a computer. This is an opportunity to meet people in the local computer club and at computer stores in the area. Ask questions but don’t expect to learn all there is to know in a few hours. The technology changes so fast you’ll never stay up with it. Just settle for learning enough to get as much computer as you need for the applications you want to run.

Link Me On, Scotty

So, you’ve visited the local computer club and gotten some tips from its members. And you’ve shopped some of the local computer stores and you’ve either purchased a new system or bought someone’s old system at a greatly reduced price so they can justify buying a fancy new system. And now you’re ready to go online.

We don’t expect to provide a complete primer as to computer selection, education and online linkage. The how’s and why’s are changing at too rapid a pace. We’ll repeat our earlier message: get out and meet the people who can give you the answers. Along the way you’ll meet some nice people who will probably turn into new friends.

Can You Define That?

  • Internet – a worldwide collection of computers that communicate with one another over phones, cables, optical fibers and satellites.
  • World Wide Web (WWW) – a system designed to access documents online over the Internet. Like a spider’s web, it links information together from around the world.
  • Web Page – document written with embedded codes to be read over the World Wide Web.
  • HTML (HyperText Markup Language) – coding Web pages use to tell a Web browser how to display a text file.
  • URL (Uniform Resource Locator) – address of a file posted on the Web. This tells your Web browser the machine the file you want is on and the path to follow to get to it.
  • “Web browser” – program that allows you to explore the Web. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, Apple’s Safari, and Mozilla’s Firefox are three popular programs.
  • The Last Time I Saw Paris…

    When you get online you will truly have the world at your fingertips. You can search through works of art at the Louvre, visit the White House, explore the Smithsonian, visit NASA, visit movie studios, read newspapers around the world. There is almost nothing that isn’t available online.

    What you can also do is visit “chat” rooms, browse personal ads, and send e-mail around the world. Because the computer promises so much indirect and anonymous contact, many of the people online are much freer in expression than they would be in a face-to-face conversation. What this means is that some Web pages are very sexually explicit and some chat groups are not for the genteel soul.

    When you’re online you have the option of exiting from a location that is not pleasing to you. YOU are in charge of what you view through your computer.

    Some things to remember

    NEVER give out personal information, phone numbers, real name, address, credit card information, etc., over the Internet. Most locations are not secure and the information could get into the wrong hands.

    Think of the computer as one big conversation area with hundreds of strangers listening to every word you say. There are many people who stay silent on the web, watching interaction between others.

    DON’T BELIEVE everything you see. You may think you are having a conversation with a perfectly charming gentleman from Australia who has all the qualities of the ideal mate when in reality you are trading information back and forth with a precocious 10-year old in Cleveland and all of his friends.

    Caution is the most important word to remember when online.

    Some Things Never Change

    In New Jersey, John Goydan filed divorce papers accusing his wife of having an affair via computer with a married man in North Carolina. The affair was never physically consummated but Goydan had copies of e-mail messages of the couple planning a meeting in New Hampshire.

    And Finally …

    You’ll have more fun if you consider going online as just another form of entertainment There are movies to watch, books to read, chat rooms to visit.

    As far as a source of information, the Internet is your one-stop library, news service, medical guide, travel source, housing reference and much, much more. It is a link from your home to the world, seven days a week, 24 hours a day. You need never feel alone again.

    Computers have truly changed our view of the world.

    © Pat Gaudette