By reading the news daily you’ll be an informed citizen and voter, plus you’ll never be tongue-tied at a recruiting function, networking event, alumni picnic—or even on a date. You’ll feel comfortable chatting with pretty much anyone about current events. Subscribe to a daily overview e-mail and “breaking news” alerts and you can gather the news in just 10 to 15 minutes a day.
Reading online magazines and blogs is like getting an extra dose of op-eds from around the country. Expert writers and opinion leaders use these forums to vent, opine, and talk in depth about a wide variety of issues of the day. The Web has made it easier to read good, solid writing on a daily basis. Don’t miss out on the world’s next Gettysburg Address or “I Have a Dream”—it’s most likely to take place online these days.
Both sites pretty much have a lock on this category. While many cities offer other great blogs and websites related to local gastronomy, you can’t beat the search options and reader reviews on Zagat and Yelp. Don’t take a client to lunch without checking out the restaurant’s online rating first!
Okay, maybe gossip isn’t essential, but most of us like to be up on our Kardashian/Paris/Lindsay/Dannielynn knowledge. Among the gossip gabfests, these two sites stand out—mainly because they get all the good scoops!
On the Internet, there’s no excuse for paying retail; there are just too many good places to find shopping discounts. Bluefly.com and Zappos.com are two to watch for discounted luxury clothes and shoes. Sites like Bluefly buy up excess inventory and pass the price cut to online shoppers. The site features fashion and accessories from more than 350 designers, including Prada, Kate Spade, and Gucci, to name a few. According to the site, all of their items are brand-new and at least 40% off the retail prices. Zappos.com can’t be beat for the widest variety of discount and designer shoes (plus free shipping both ways so you can order multiple pairs and return the duds).
Of course, all of the above advice is for the average Internet user. If you work for an Internet site, as a Web designer, or in another area of high tech, you’re probably reading much, much more every day. I checked with my own website designer and he told me, “Being that I spend all day online, I read over 100 blogs a day.” For his industry, I’ll bet that’s standard.