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Should soap operas be used to encourage people to use the Internet?

More storylines involving the Internet should appear in UK soaps, in an effort to get offline Brits online, says the government's Martha Lane Fox. But are soaps really the right choice?

More storylines involving the Internet should appear in UK soaps, in an effort to get offline Brits online, says Martha Lane Fox -- the woman put in charge of dragging British hermits to use the Web by Lord Carter.

In an interview with the BBC, Fox explained people on lower incomes see the value of buying a computer when they discover the cost-saving measures they can take online. "Because when you go online, you get better deals," she said.

But soap operas aren't much of a conduit for promoting how much money you can save online, are they? It doesn't make scintillating TV to see a storyline about a couple who buy a computer and discover they can save £100 on their gas bill by using QuidCo.

No, a far more likely story would involve some abhorent teenager on Hollyoaks uploading a video of his genitals to YouTube. All hell would break loose when the video goes viral around campus, resulting in him killing himself or something. Hardly the kind of material that'll convince anyone to buy a computer they can't afford.

What could be done

Fox's reasoning does have merit, though. People watch soaps because they want to see peoples' lives being ruined, or old people getting frozen in supermarket refrigerators. Better would be a segment on something like Come Dine With Me, Location, Location, Location, or maybe Songs of Praise.

What do you think? If you were in charge of getting older or less wealthy Brits online, what shows would you use to help achieve your goal? Let us know in the comments.