Most of us spend time on the internet these days, and anyone who spends any time in a vast public space is bound to encounter whispers, gossip, rumors, and myths at some point. But some of those myths seem to take hold more than others. Here are just a few of the internet myths we still seem to think are true.
Starting a blog or a channel on YouTube or TikTok is a sure path to a lucrative side hustle.
As recently as July 6, 2021, YouTuber money and finance channels were still listing blogging and YouTube channels as side hustles you can start as early as your teens to generate passive income for years to come. While it clearly worked for them, this is still a myth, because earning a large passive income through these methods is not a sure path, but is relatively rare. For every David Dobrik or Faze Rug, there are ten or twenty people with similarly themed channels who never earned much, if any money.
Until the channel or blog has been running steadily for a year to a year and a half, it is impossible to tell how it will perform overall. Once that growth period is up, a general picture of the content’s popularity will begin to emerge, but subscribers and readers and/or viewers will still continue to come and go.
With any type of online content creation, you can expect about ten per cent of your target audience to follow you, and ten per cent of that to actually interact with you by reading your blog articles and watching your videos. This alone means your content has to target an enormous population to gain the attention needed to generate ad revenue, and that still doesn’t guarantee it will catch on and make any money.
This is not to say you can’t, or shouldn’t, use these avenues in your work. Just be aware that “start a blog or YouTube channel” is only a lucrative side hustle if you deliberately and carefully build it into a far-reaching side business, and even then it will take a lot of time to build.
Millionaires all have seven streams of income.
This one is semi-true… sort of. Millionaires do indeed make a great deal of their money through a variety of investments. These various methods of investing are counted in the seven streams. It becomes a myth when we start believing that all millionaires got their money this way, and that everyone who works to establish seven streams of income is going to become a millionaire.
Wealth depends on a variety of factors, some entirely within our control, some a mixture of our choices and things we cannot control, and some entirely outside of our control. People who inherit millions certainly do not need, or necessarily have, seven income streams, and have received their money through absolutely no hard work of their own. A person who has not inherited money, but whose parents can afford to send them to private schools with high admission rates to Ivy League or other top schools can make the choice to squander those opportunities or to take advantage of them, but their proximity to wealth and opportunity alone makes it much easier to forge a path that ends in millions of dollars than someone whose family can barely afford to keep them fed and clean.
The “seven streams” claim becomes even more muddled when people latch onto it to promote dubious financial advice. Multilevel marketing companies often tout selling and recruiting for their companies as an “income stream” to be included in your seven. And while there may be no harm in signing up for some of these companies in order to earn discounts on a product you like or the occasional small amount of extra cash, almost nobody ever earns even as much as they would putting in the same amount of time and effort at a minimum wage job, and most people wind up losing money.
You can learn anything simply by searching for it online.
Like the “seven streams” myth, this one is sprinkled with a few grains of truth. You can certainly do a lot of resesarch on any topic online. If you want to learn how to make traditional Greek or Indian food, there will be blogs, full websites, YouTube videos, and podcasts containing recipes, demonstrations, and tips from those who have made this type of food their entire lives. If you want to learn about skateboarding or hunting or hockey, the history of the sport, video demonstrations, and sound advice will be plentiful online.
And so will a lot of utter nonsense you should never have believed, posted by people who didn’t bother to actually learn about the topic before declaring themselves an “expert.” In the earlier days of the internet, it was easy to tell the difference between a solid, carefully created and maintained website run by an expert in their field and the page of a hobbyist who simply liked to talk about their favorite topic, whether they knew anything about it or not.
Professional pages cost money to have built and run, and had the sleek, book-like appearance of most webpages we see online today. Those with only a personal interest in the topic used “geocities” pages, with garish, cartoon like backgrounds and fonts, or later, the free version of Google’s “blogger” function, with similarly distinctive blocky layouts and bright colors. Today, anybody….from a person with extensive academic credentials, decades of job experience, and/or years of serious personal research on a topic all the way down to someone who saw a Lifetime movie about it last night and decided they had something to say…can create a professional looking online presence.
There are many things you can learn quite a lot about via personal searches on the internet, but in most cases, you have to be willing to go further than repeated searches, to published books, print journals, and talking to or signing up for classes taught by actual experts in the field, at least to learn enough about your topic to tell solid online information from personal musings when you return to the internet for further study.
It is perfectly acceptable to use any word that sounds like another word when spoken, and anyone who tells you otherwise is just playing “grammar police.”
Your personal social media pages are indeed your own space, and nobody can stop you from saying anything you want any way you want to say it. But it does make a poor impression when, despite English being your first language, and an education above elementary school indicated in your personal details, you still appear not to understand that “your” is possessive and “you’re” is a contraction for “you are” or that there is a difference between the words “there,” “their,” and “they’re” or “our” and “are.”
You may still not care, arguing that everyone on your page finds you so clever or lovable, they would never think to do anything but overlook your grammatical “quirks.” Just keep in mind that should you apply for a job, or use your social media page to promote your career, potential employers or clients can and do look people up on social media, and they’re certainly not going to think it’s cute that the person they are considering hiring to communicate with their clients or provide written content for them is likely to send out memos that read, “Your the best client we ever had. They’re is no one like you. You make are days better!”
Even if you carefully limit your social media to family and friends, this type of incorrect word use can become a habit that carries over to professional communication. Again, if you insist upon using the wrong words, and putting down everyone who finds this annoying and always uses the right ones as overly fussy, go right ahead. Just remember to at least use the correct ones for work.
And one that’s finally fading….Working from home using the internet is an easy, no stress way to make fast money.
During the height of the pandemic, those who did not lose their jobs often found them shifted from on-site work to work from home positions. They quickly learned that working online is not easier than working on-site, there are just trade-offs in pros and cons.
Avoiding the cost and hassle of a commute is a favorite perk of working from home. It is also great to be able to complete little chores, such as putting on a load of laundry, walking the dog, washing the dishes, or checking the mail on your break instead of having to wait until your lunch hour to come home and do it. Many save money on food and drinks, as they do not need to go out for coffee or lunch, or purchase portable versions of snacks or meals to take to work. And even if you still get dressed for work because you continue to be seen on Zoom, or you just need to be dressed to focus, clothing costs are often reduced simply because there is so much less social pressure to always have a new or nicer handbag or outfit to keep up with others in the office.
On the other side, jobs done from home are pretty much the same jobs as the ones done from an office or other dedicated space in terms of prestige, pay, and benefits. And they come with their own set of challenges. The isolation is not good for our mental health. At-home workers may avoid the commute, but workers in more traditional settings do not have to maintain a professional environment while neighbors’ kids run screaming through the building or someone decides to throw an afternoon party next door.
The internet is a vast public space, and as in all large spaces, you encounter a variety of people, with widely varying motives, skills, and preparation for whatever they might be doing. The key is not to cease use, or even reduce use of the internet, but to use it wisely.