I realize I’m working on making folks’ eyes bleed with the sheer amount of stuff I’ve written today, but what can I say? I’m encountering so much stuff today, like this gem from Forbes about how Google and Facebook might be completely gone in the next few years. 😛
A nice attempt at geek analysis of some contemporary geek issues, but unfortunately way off the mark. What we have here is a little analytical heuristics whereby one thinks just because the last major shift in the Internet had X, Y, and Z occur that this is always how it’s going to work. Unfortunately, shortcuts like that are quite easily shot down.
Let’s take a look at the analysis of Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 that this article presents. First, it’s very much a given that the difference between the internet of the 1990s and the internet of the 2000s was social interaction. Nobody should dispute that, but other things were going on during the 2000s too. The 2000s was probably the Golden Age Of Broadband here in America before all these ISPs started jumping on the capwagon with bandwidth caps, usage-based billing, and an opposition to Net Neutrality. That was how I picked DSL over Cable back in the day when I first got started with it myself. AT&T didn’t cap their DSL, and the “neanderthals” at the then-local-business cable company did. AT&T broadband outages were in minutes while cable outages were in hours around here, so the choice was obvious. Nowadays though, the cable company has been acquired by a larger company and has caught up to DSL in terms of technology and in some ways surpasses it, plus AT&T has regressed by slapping all their wired broadband customers with bandwidth caps themselves, so the decision’s no longer cut and dried.
When Net Neutrality advocates mention the blossoming of the online world because of a free and open internet this era in the 2000s no doubt is at least partially being referenced. However, let’s consider the shift from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 and the development of all this social stuff in light of broadband’s advances during that decade. It used to be that going on the Internet was just some geeky thing you did with a computer during the heydays of dialup. When Web 2.0 was taking off though, Internet activity had become a mainstream activity and showed the potential to replace other more traditional forms of getting information or being entertained such as print media, radio, TV, phone service, etc. By then it was only natural to start implementing these social features in because broadband was becoming more widely available and brought with it all of its perks that allow for more mainstream entertainment over the internet than the HTML dialup-friendly pages of the 90s.
This time around, the issue is not broadband technology itself or even PCs for that matter, but the recent non-PC explosion that some are erroneously calling “The Post PC Era.”
I’m long overdue to make some kind of YouTube video chiming in on the whole “Post-PC” thing, but for now it’ll suffice to say that I’m more in agreement with folks like Steve Ballmer on this issue. It’s not that PCs are on their way out, just that they’re sharing the stage with other devices that people can use as “personal computing devices.” After all, “personal computer” is what PC is supposed to stand for. This whole thing of tying the concept of personal computers to specific form factors like desktops or laptops is really nothing more than socially acceptable ad populum ignorance.
This “mobile internet” thing is going to be a side effect of all that. It’s not that “we will never have Web 3.0, because the web’s dead” as the Forbes article states on page 2, but that the World Wide Web is back to where it was when this World Wide Web stuff first took off, as just one way to access Internet content. Oh yeah folks. Remember what “The Internet” used to mean back in the 1990s, or the whole “World Wide Web” thing back when we used to say the whole term instead of abbreviating it? Just because the World Wide Web has all-but-monopolized what people are talking about when they mention “The Internet” doesn’t mean the concept is true, just like how we shouldn’t think desktops and laptops monopolize what it means for something to be a “personal computer.”
When I see people standing on soapboxes like this I begin to wonder if maybe there’s some money being exchanged somewhere behind the scenes. Did this author get paid off by somebody to write something like this in such a high profile news source or something? 😛 Granted, anyone at this point who is starting any kind of web page is shooting themselves in the foot if they don’t consider making some kind of mobile-friendly version, but I wouldn’t go so far as to call the World Wide Web a dinosaur, much less predict the demise of Google and Facebook. If Google and Facebook go under, I’m sure changing times won’t be the only reason. There’ve been other things going on too that might run the risk of users defecting en masse to something else. Facebook Timeline comes to mind. Hmmmmm… 🙂