Every time I board an airplane, I know where I’m going. I just don’t understand exactly how I’m getting there.

The ticketing, boarding, takeoff and landing process establish a comforting routine. But the fact that a couple of huge engines and a pile of aluminum and plastic are hurtling people hundreds or thousands of miles seems little more than an afterthought.

I don’t understand how it all works; I suppose I never will. But it does work, for the most part, and we’re much richer for the possibilities this quick and easy travel brings to us.

I feel much the same way about the Internet.

I don’t understand how it works, how something that really doesn’t even exist in the traditional sense of a building or a company can have such a far-reaching impact on our lives.

But it does.

People in our neighborhood, just like those we’re writing about in this month’s cover story, are building careers and businesses providing Internet services of one kind or another. And they’re by no means alone.

There was a report in the Morning News the other day that indicated Internet-related jobs would be the fastest growing employment segment in Texas this year, with total Internet-related employment growing to nearly 150,000 jobs.

So the Internet means more jobs, which means more wages, which means greater household prosperity, which means higher home values, which means . . .

Actually, what does it all mean?

If I knew that answer, you could probably watch me dispensing it over and over again on Good Morning America and those other need-to-know television shows.

I know in the publishing business, the Internet is causing quite a stir. Most publications, including the Advocate, have websites, but no one really seems to know what to do with them yet.

The Advocate web site (advocatemag.com) is primarily geared to two audiences: People interested in updated Advocate Value Card program information, and people interested in our publications’ advertising rates and our readers’ demographic and spending patterns.

In the long run, I suspect the publishing entities that succeed on the Internet will be those helping their audience sort through the millions of offerings out there to deliver the five or 10 sites most of us have the time or interest to check out each day.

To that end, over time the Advocate will be adding links to neighborhood businesses, as well as some of the big ones like amazon.com and others, so that the Advocate web site can become a gateway of sorts for neighborhood people who want to start off their Internet experience each day or week or month with a friendly face.

We’ll let you know how we’re coming in the months ahead. And if you have any ideas about what you’d like to see on our website, let me know.

This whole Internet revolution seems a lot like boarding an airplane: I don’t understand it, but I’m going to do it anyway.

I just wish I knew where I was going.


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