Sometimes I waste away entire afternoons on the Internet.
“Sometimes” is every day I have an Internet connection. Facebook is my primary distraction, but because I refuse to add Jetman or Oregon Trail or whatever other crazy apps Zuckerberg allows, I get bored pretty easily. I can only look at pictures and status updates for so long.
So in the last few months, I have been forced – ha, forced…like it’s been so bad – to browse the Web for some other distractions. My roommates and I were all abroad for the last quarter and in need of an apartment. A friend suggested craigslist, and I was getting desperate enough to try anything.
As it turns out, that friend is absolutely brilliant. Not only did we find an apartment, but couches to furnish the place, too! They’re not even from I.V., so they’re not gross, either. Now I’m utterly fascinated by the site. Anybody can post anything they have? And this is all free?
Okay, I admit I’m a little behind the times. Craigslist was put online in 1997 by Craig Newmark of San Francisco and has since become the 58th most visited site in the U.S., according to Alexa.com. About 450 cities in 50 different countries have their own craigslist pages. Obviously, there are millions of people who have already discovered craigslist’s wonders. But better late than never, right?
On craigslist, I can shop for a new house, furniture for my living room, pots and pans for my kitchen, old DVDs to watch because there are no new shows on anymore, and one link even says I can look for “baby+kids.” Insta-family! The “free” area is the best. For some reason, there is always free dirt. If I were ever in a dirt-related emergency, craigslist would be the first place I would go.
Buying stuff is only half the site. There is a whole services section where I can look for someone to fix my car or edit my thesis – but I suppose I’d have to write one of those first. Up top there’s a community section, where I could find out about happenings in the area, create a post about my lost dog (awwwww) or find a nanny for those kids I just bought. Over on the side there’s a job section with about 33 different career areas I can browse, from spa to the “et cetera” category, which is really just full of those scam jobs, like selling magazines door-to-door.
Now with a furnished apartment, kids and a babysitter to watch the them while I’m out selling copies of Fishermen’s Voice Monthly, I only need one thing: my true love. Or maybe just some sex for the night. Well, what do you know, craigslist even has a personals section! There’s a discussion section, too, but I’m not quite as interested in that one. Why’s that? Because one of the comments in the political discussion says “waterboard his willie!”
I’ve been sarcastic, but really, I think craigslist has done a lot of good. Admittedly, there are things wrong with it. Because anybody can post fairly anonymously, there’s the whole credibility factor, and this weighs heavily against the site. There’s also a ton of spam, especially in the job section. Though the site itself looks like crap, it’s straightforward and doesn’t take my computer an hour to load, so I’m not complaining about the ugliness too much.
There has also been talk about how craigslist is killing newspapers because it’s taking away money from the classified section. I don’t think we should blame Craig for this, though. If he hadn’t done it, someone else would have made a similar Web site. Our world is getting online, so our personal ads should too.
Verdict: Craigslist is awesome. It’s giving Facebook and even my e-mail quite a run for their money on my list of bookmarks (yeah, I rank my bookmarked pages). It beats out its competitors, if only because it uses the peace symbol in my URL bar.