5 Things to Do Online That You used to Do “IRL” (In Real Life)

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The first thing we have to do is quit making distinctions between what happens online and what happens in real life. Online is real life. And the sooner we grok that, the sooner we can begin making the most of this incredible medium. Some people haven’t quite gotten the memo. Working from that old playbook has caused some to be a lot less efficient and productive than they might have been were they properly taking advantage of internet technology.

When Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone to the world, he presented it as if it were three devices:

  • An iPod
  • A Phone
  • An internet communicator

Everyone knew what an iPod was. It was the spiritual successor to the Walkman for the digital music age. Everyone knew what a phone was because we had been using them since the Flintstones. But no one knew what he meant by an internet communicator. People just clapped politely as if to say that two out of three was pretty good. What no one suspected was that the internet communicator part of the device would become the most important. If you are one of those people who find the internet part of your devices little more than a sideshow, consider this your wake-up call:

1. HR Control Panel

When you first started your business, you did your background checks the old-fashioned way. You hired a private investigator. And you did that hiring in person. Today, background checks are done online by those who take it seriously. First, you don’t have to be limited to the detectives in your neck of the woods. When you do your background checks online, you gain access to the finest human resources in the world, even if you are from a small town.

It is not just about better employee screening. By taking HR online, you have access to better payroll and scheduling. Workers can better keep up with vacation and sick days. Instead of having it all dumped on one person trying to manage it all on the back of a napkin. Regulatory compliance will also be easier because you are no longer relying on getting dead-tree mail to let you know when there is a change. You can get compliance information as fast as your legal department because you are all getting it online the moment changes happen. Even the best HR departments were never very good before the internet. HR via internet resources have made it better for everyone.

2. Make Fashion Choices

It is not like men were ever big on talking to other men about fashion choices. Today, when trying to decide the best ways to wear your Polo collection, you look to the internet. There was a time when men were happy to buy men’s magazines. They could get a feel for the styles they thought might look good on them. Besides magazines being a dying business, the internet can show us so many more possibilities being worn by people who look more like us.

3. Banking

The best online checking accounts have at least one thing in common: They are all accessible online. Remember when you had to find some time during the workday to go into a bank and conduct business? It was bad. Now, you can open accounts, make transfers, and even deposit checks from the comfort of your home and on your schedule. That’s much better.

4. Consuming Entertainment

Whether you are watching a movie or enjoying the new album from your favorite artist, it is better online than it ever was offline. You can find a streaming service that will present you with any content you want to see, exactly when and where you want to see it. And you no longer have to go to the music store on release day. You can listen to the worldwide release of the next big hit the moment it comes out on virtually every music streaming service.

5. Shop

Nothing will ever truly replace the experience of shopping at a retail store. And maybe that’s a good thing because that is not always a great experience. It is so much easier to find your size online, whatever that size happens to be. You don’t have to worry about rude sales people. And even returns are better online than at most retail stores. If you think of the real world as your offline experience, then the real world isn’t all it is cracked up to be. HR, fashion, banking, consuming media, and shopping offer better experiences online.