July 28, 2005


In what might just a fit of self-parody Wired's latest issue uses the anniversary of the Netscape's IPO to launch a retrospective, 10 Years That Changed the World (perhaps better stated as 10 Years of Ecommerce?). The usual Wired hype and wide eyed optimism applies, but the fact is they have a right to gloat a bit. They got some things right. Technology is powerful, and while most of the Wired crowd seems to suffer from an inability to think critically about any of it, they were right about the impact. Make enough positive predictions and some are bound to come true.

The first time I really grasped the breadth and potential impact of the web was in 1994. I was in a computer lab, staring at Mosaic or Netscape, probably reading about obscure electronic music or printing directions to a full moon party in the high Mohave desert. The kid next to me, who I just barely recognized, sees the browser, a goes "so your into marching bands too?!" I turned to him a bit mystified and realized, that his internet was a whole different world then mine. We sat side by side, lived on the same campus, ate in the same cafeteria, but other then these few words basically lived in completely different worlds.

This is wasn't new to the internet of course, cities are filled will buildings of strangers whose lives intersect only in the elevators. Colleges filled with kids who share four years together and nothing else. But the internet took these striations and blew them the fuck apart while simultaneously weaving together new strands across the globe. Trains, telephones and mass media had been pushing and pulling at the geographical basis of culture for over a century, but the internet is what truly took it over the threshold and into a new phase state, a world of global microcultures. Unlike Wired I'll try to pass on judging it bad or good, more likely its both, but either way it sure has changed things...

Posted by Abe at July 28, 2005 04:10 PM