Folks who know about these types of things say "sex" is the most often-searched word on the Internet. Heck, anyone who has searched for anything on the Internet knows you don't even have to use the word. No matter what words you plug into search engines, you usually get results with sex sites listed right at the top.
But for those who've tried everything and still can't get a date, there's a sense of new-found hope on the Web.
Sex expert Deb Levine, who developed and maintained "Go Ask Alice," Columbia University's award-winning Web site providing information about safe sex and healthy relationships, is now best known as Delilah, Thrive Online's sex therapist.
Her book, The Joy of Cybersex: A Guide for Creative Lovers (Ballantine Trade Paperback; $12, 325 pp.), will guide you to some of the best and safest sites for meeting and dating online, or for exploring your sexuality if you're already in a relationship.
"The beauty of the Internet is that it's interactive -- there are places to read the advice, then practice the new skills you've read about with real people," says Levine, adding that you can then discuss your mistakes and successes with other folks in an anonymous, supportive environment.
You can even flirt in your pajamas online.
NEW MEDIA, NEW GROUP
The much-anticipated arrival (in some small circles) of the Detroit New Media Association has finally happened. It's an association for professionals who are involved in interactive media, which has been established by professionals in emerging fields around the metro Detroit area.
The association wants to foster the growth of the local interactive community, with four main objectives: education, by bringing in local and global pioneering executives for a series of new media forums; awards, by creating a new local media award ceremony to showcase the best Web sites; social, by holding monthly parties featuring computer installations, art work and entertainment; and community, by developing a local online community to help professionals from the Detroit area shift to an information-centric society.
"Our goal with this online community is to provide a valuable online resource center that focuses on bridging the gap across many industries and people within the Detroit bubble," says Tim Rosa, the group's founder.
This community will assist in providing information to new media professionals, both on a personal and professional level.
The next monthly session on December 12 will feature a visit from Seth Godin, former CEO of Yoyodyne and vice president of direct marketing for Yahoo. In February, Prodigy and Psuedo Online founder Josh Harris will make a guest appearance.
One of the fastest-growing top-level domain (TLD) suffixes appears to be .nu (offered through www.nunames.nu). The .NU Domain company began accepting registrations from the worldwide general public last November, and has registered nearly 20,000 domain names to date.
According to a company press release, the .nu name is currently the 16th largest two-letter TLD in the world, having passed Norway (.no) several weeks ago.
In addition to the popular .com, .net and .org TLDs, Internet regulations allow for the creation of more than 200 other TLDs based on the International Standards Organization's (ISO) two-letter abbreviations or country codes for national entities. These are the same codes used by the International Postal Service to indicate a country's mailing address, such as France (FR), Italy (IT) and Germany (DE).
.NU is the country code TLD for the South Pacific island-nation of Niue. Because Niue is a little-known country, its country code domain name carries little national identity outside its borders. It's expected to become popular not only because of its affiliation with a Polynesian island paradise, but also because of its "newness."
Examples of .NU domain names already registered include "really.nu," "its.nu," "internet.nu" and "so.nu."
In addition, the word "nu" means "now" in Swedish, Danish, Norwegian and Dutch, and several hundred Scandinavian users have already rushed to register names such as "peace.nu," and "musik.nu."
Expect to see more TLDs available in the next couple of years as domain name registration migrates to the private sector.
By the end of next March, five companies will be allowed to compete with Network Solutions Inc., the private firm that has had the only contract to serve up .com, .org and .net to the public since 1994.
NONPROFITS GET WIRED
Two metro area nonprofit organizations are serving as shining examples of effective Web use: The Wyandotte-based Downriver Council for the Arts (www.downriverarts.org/) and the Birmingham Community House's Community Network (www.communityhouse.com) .
The Downriver site features links to member organizations, such as the Taylor Ballet Americana and the Southern Great Lakes Symphony, and includes a beefy list of upcoming events.
The Community Network is an online information service providing a wide variety of resources, including a calendar of events, lists of area wedding and meeting facilities, travel suggestions and much more.