I'm very thankful to have a boss and coworkers that are pro-authenticity and letting your true voice shine through on the company blog. It's not like that everywhere. Enjoy.
The Internet: A Half Century Down the Tubes?
"I just did a little piece on packet switching and I get blamed for the whole go*d*mned Internet, you know?"It is impossible to escape the Internet. Even when trying to hide in the pages an Angelina-laden issue of Vanity Fair. The folds of this haut-living magazine currently feature an 12+ page spread celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Web.
(Paul Baran, "How the Web Was Won.")
It’s only the best oral history of the Internet ever written. Spanning Arpanet to eBay to Ning; spotlighting our forefathers Vint Cerf, Pierre Omidyar, Marc Andreessen (and more). A perfectly off-line weekend foiled again.
We’ve come a long way, baby. But the more we know, the more there is to learn – and unlearn. Some might even say that life was a whole lot easier to manage before America went online.
You've Got a Whole Lotta Mail
Raise your hand if you successfully keep up with email. NPR's current ‘crushed by email’ series reminds us that, between work and family, we're inundated with the daily deluge of being plugged in. (Worldwide email traffic, currently soaring at 210 messages per day, will double by 2014, according to the Radicati Group. Big Tech is now eating its own dog food.)
Some of you really do have it together, thanks to Xobni, AwayFind, Getting Things Done, not sleeping or not caring. Nobody can afford to declare email bankruptcy, although Microsoft's Joel Cherkis and Wired's Lawrence Lessig might beg to differ.
It’s no wonder the masses clamor to consume social media: they’d sooner jump off a bridge than deal with retooling the enewsletter and emarketing strategy just one more time. Blogs are sexier than the eternal battle to raise CRTs and evade spam filters.
On that note, don’t get me started on the ripple effect of the Web on corporate marketing. Verizon just hired a teddy bear that Twitters. Teddy doesn't deal with customer service issues, which puts this initiative at dead zero on the "Good Use of Time" meter.
To illustrate the theory of fallible online services, Google Maps has failed me 7 times in the past month alone. It’s one thing when faulty directions lead to late arrival to your agency’s most important event of the year (and subsequently get you tanked in the dog house by your boss). It’s another thing all together when the same mapping service delivers you an hour late to a dear friend’s wedding (at least I got there for the kiss).
While there’s an element of human error in most technological blunders, does that excuse today’s radical services from reliability? The trusty, beat up Rand McNally atlas now relegated to my trunk used to get me from point A to point B just fine.
By far, the biggest oil slick/skid mark at the end of the rainbow/long tail is the impact on younger generations. Kids r submitting school papers w/ txt msg abbrevs, and talking about issues way beyond their years in forums for teens “thirteen and older.”
COPA cannot keepa uppa. Neither can parents. Neither can the law.
Ain't No Stopping Us
None of these - or other - issues can hold the Internet down. Privacy and copyright issues. Increased driving accidents from mobile phone usage. Incorrect self-diagnosis of illnesses. LOL Cats. All spawned by the glorious Intertubes, but we will prevail.
Because, of course, the bounty of the web has also brought us good things. Splendid, knock-your-socks-off wonders. More ways to connect with the people we love and new people that share our interests. The priceless ability to make our voices heard for things that matter. Correct self-diagnosis of illnesses. Many of our jobs. And LOL Cats (don’t front: we’ve all laughed once).
So, a toast! Here’s to the next 50 years of misery, mischief and miracles. To our choice to use the power of the Web for good. To the possibility of connecting face to face, writing complete sentences, and going dark – if only for the weekend.
And if anyone has other suggestions for online direction/mapping services, please save me. Save us all.
Photo credits are unknown.