Welcome to the Information Age. Okay, we’ve already been here for a while but now ordinary people like you and me are actually reaping some of the financial benefits from it. Unlike the industrial age, the average Joe and Jane can actually make money from the Information Age. All it takes is original content. You have to teach someone something. We have entered the first period in history where literally any person can ask a question and what ever the question is, it will be answered in mere moments. This is why quality search engines such as; Google, Yahoo, Ask.com and MSN are so valuable. These web sites scan billions of web pages to find the most relevant answers to the questions you pose. Knowledge is power, and information is profitable.
Newspapers have been selling information for decades, so what makes the Information Age different? One answer is control. People have the autonomy to get the the information that they want, not just the information that newspapers decide to feed us. This may seem like a simplistic answer, but if you look under the surface you can see that for the first time people have control over information from both ends. Control over creating it, and control over choosing what’s important. Obviously the internet has bridged the gap, and is narrowing that gap with each passing day as millions of more people obtain access to the internet. No one can pinpoint an exact date when the world went online, but there seems to be a general consensus that it was in the mid nineteen nineties. We’ve only been in the Information Age for roughly twelve years, and as it stands at this moment I can’t even imagine my life without web access. How did I, let alone the world, survive without being “connected”? A similar question might have been asked by people living in the Sixties with regards to television.
Okay, so most everyone has access to all kinds information, but how can the average person profit from it? As it stands today, the answer lies in online advertising. If content is key, then Google is the key-hole. Just like television, advertising is generating money for people who are creating original content and who know how to market it on the internet. Getting personal, many of my friends who are in their mid 20’s to mid 30’s refuse to pay for anything on the internet. One of them actually scoffed at the idea. I remember a few years ago trying to view online newspapers on the internet but couldn’t because they asked users to purchase a membership. I never did, nor will I ever. The most widely used way people make money from the internet is through online advertising. Unlike television, or other forms of media, anyone can make money from the internet thanks to online advertising from companies such as Google. Creating Google Adsense, Google’s online advertising program, in 2003 has revolutionized the internet by placing the potential for profit in everyone’s lap. Placing ads on a web site does not automatically make someone a millionaire, but it does offer a chance. The same cannot be said for television, magazines, movies, etc. Creativity is important. How can you distinguish your web site from others? That’s a question that everyone is trying to answer. In my opinion, there are no short cuts. By writing original, interesting articles that are in demand by people trying to educate and entertain themselves is the only true way to gain an audience. A sustained audience is what every site is after since people who surf the web have billions of options out there.
In the end, the Information Age is about choice. It’s about having access to all information and then choosing what is important to you.