I moved to Italy in 1994 and I just about made a living teaching and training teachers. Quite hard in a rural community. I’d heard about the internet and dreamed of being on it and what it could do for me. A book contract in 2000 meant I had to get online fast – oh, and buy a pc! I didn’t even know how to switch it on or how to use a mouse… that little arrow went everywhere!
Trying to get broadband in the middle of the Italian countryside was impossible back then so I worked on dial-up. Our first connection to the internet was one night when my husband spent 4 hours downloading a picture of a WW2 Spitfire. The same night we also came across the weird website of some American boy and his equally odd girlfriend. I was hooked!
Now I cannot imagine life without the internet. We live in a different part of Italy now with broadband – wonderful – and all my work is done online. I have met some great contacts and I love the way even well known people are accessible. I recently did a post graduate publishing qualification. One paper asked us to comment on a quote from a well known academic. I emailed him and asked him what he thought of his own quote. He replied. I quoted his own comments in my paper – how cool is that?
I worked as editor for a UK magazine from my little farmhouse office thanks to the internet. I once emailed and called Buckingham Palace and the head of Ferrari on the same day! It was so exciting!
I got my most recent job – online journalist for a dog owners social networking site – through an online ad in the UK Guardian newspaper. As part of my job I have to source dog related stories. I found one about Oprah Winfrey, researched the name of her personal dog coach (aka trainer) visited her website and emailed her. She replied and I interviewed her for an hour while she was on holiday in France. The Internet can let you do things like that!
The world is my oyster. After all, I’m writing this to you now and you’re reading it. Long live cyberspace!
Story by Fiona Tankard Florence, Italy based online journalist, ghost writer and seo copywriter