Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Web Secret #112: The World Is Flat

In 2005, Thomas L. Friedman published, "The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century". The title of the book is a metaphor for viewing the world as a level playing field in terms of commerce, where all competitors have an equal opportunity.

I encourage you to explore the many other ways the world has become flat on the Internet, with a multiplicity of resources available to everyone with very little effort.

Here are some tips - from the sublime to the ridiculous:

Oh To Be In England - The people in Great Britain, Australia and a host of other countries speak English. Guess what - They often have books, articles, blogs and other great stuff earlier and better than we do. Here are a few examples from my international surfing adventures:

I certainly wasn't going to wait for the third book in the Millenium Trilogy, "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" to be published in paperback in the US. I ordered it from months ago.

As a slightly plump but radically cool person; I wasn't going to restrict my retail therapy to the unimaginative US "plus size" market. Instead, I ordered an awesome leather biker jacket at a great price from Their international shipping rate is only $6.00!!! (News flash - many international websites offer amazingly attractive shipping rates.)

People in other countries often have a different perspective on things. If I want to know what's really happening in the world, I go to foreign online news outlets to get the rest of the story. For example, will give me the Australian side of the coin. If you are lucky enough to speak a foreign language or two, there is a Google News outlet for dozens of countries from Spain to Singapore.

Oh Canada - I never used to know people who didn't have medical insurance. But now, thanks to the recession, I do. When my insurance challenged friends need meds, I steer them to the Canadian Drugstore where they can save about 50% on drugs.

How many different ways can you say Wikipedia? We knew that my maternal grand-father, Jacob Schapiro, was a pioneer in the German automotive industry, but information was hard to come by. Until I had the idea to check out Found him! Is your German on the weak side? Mine is - so I translated the Wikipedia entry with a click of the mouse on "translate this page" in the Google listing. Not exactly elegant, but readily understandable.

Bottom line - don't limit yourself to US websites. The resources of our flat world are at your finger tips. The easiest way to access a foreign source is to go to the relevant Google site as your starting point. I speak fluent French, so when I am craving something Gallic, I go to, enter my query in French and voila - I access a site that I wouldn't ordinarily find.

Bon voyage!

1 comment:

  1. The world is flat. In some way yes it is. Through internet, I can attest that the world is flat because we can have an immediate access to anyone.