Friday, 2 July 2010

Here and Now: The Net Is Getting Better (I Hope)

It's weird. As I coast into my eleventh year of playing with the internet (I was a late adopter- got online properly in '99), I can't help but wonder what the next step of it all will be. There were the floundering, burgeoning years of the early nineties, the blossoming awareness of the later nineties, the ill-fated Dot Com boom, and the slick shift into the world of Web 2.0 and every form of social media you can think of. It's this most recent era that has been the most interesting for me. The internet is no longer covered in flashing GIFs and other animated clip-art.

It's no longer a chore to get online and get busy (or get procrastinating, depending on your own habits), it's no longer required to know how to code to make something fantastic (which cheers me up immensely as I have no clue whatsoever about code beyond a tiny bit of HTML), and the net is accepted as an integral part of our lives. Children are growing up who can't imagine a world without the internet. Well I can remember it, and it was a very different place.

Is it better or worse now? Both, for various reasons. There are some amazing possibilities for the web that are only just being realized now, and many things are improving all the time. Like what? Like the forthcoming new version of DIGG, for example (with a much greater social aspect which appears to be a genuinely great new way of sharing content), or the continued popularity of Twitter (which I am most pleased about due to the sheer simplicity of the service), and any number of others.

Of course, the web still has a ton of problems, especially with its biggest sites (by which I mean the privacy concerns with Facebook), but we do seem to be living in an age of solutions rather than obstacles. Information has never been easier to obtain, creativity and self expression has never been so welcome, and social interaction over great distances has never been easier. Enjoy it, people. Join in. Get involved. Be a part of this evolutionary phase, and let's run away from the days of 56k connections at an ever faster pace.

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