My column for this week is now up on Social Matter. It’s about some of the dashed hopes related to the World Wide Web. Please leave a comment over there if you have something smart to say about it.
Here’s the intro:
The World Wide Web became popular on a wave of general optimism. The idea was that this network would give anyone with a computer equal and free access to unprecedented stores of knowledge.
What public libraries did to democratize knowledge, the internet would do – but faster, better, and more cheaply.
This new medium would break the monopolies of the big media companies. People would eventually stop watching TV, stop reading magazines, and stop caring about Hollywood.
Peer to peer file sharing would make copyright enforcement impossible. Cheap digital tools would unleash the creativity of the masses. The un-censorable network would transform people who would’ve otherwise been television drones into knowledgeable digital citizens.
Anyone who wanted it could have a platform to speak truth to power.
How many of these assumptions have turned out to be accurate, and how many have melted away?
As it relates to some of my other projects cooking on this site, I didn’t make much progress last week owing to work keeping me busy. Hopefully, I’ll be able to make some more time for it this upcoming week.
The internet doesn’t provide peer-to-peer networking (driven by ethernet requirments) but a mesh network would. If the internet were peer-to-peer the extremely large ISP would not exist and that network would be uncensorable and ungovernable.
The web did make those changes. It is easy and cheap, the chance to end the media company & Hollywood choke hold on society is there. The problem is the same as it has always been, not enough people changed to take advantage of it. Not enough people are willing to try something new, take a risk or give up their current comfort.
Robert What? says
Hope all is ok with you? Hope it is just that you are taking a break.
Focusing on paid work for a while. Will be back at some point in the next six months.