Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The World Wide Web turned 20...

Well that escalated quickly. 

Yesterday the internet turned twenty years old and it felt strange to think about.  At this point it has become a form of communication so ubiquitous that not many people really think about how quick of an adoption it's had.  Granted the real birth of the World Wide Web happened in 1989 before I was truly cognizant of the world around me, but its growth since then has remained every present like my own. 

In the mid 90's I remember the installing of modems into peoples homes and eventually the beeping dial up that would be connected to my own Macintosh Quadra. This was mind blowing stuff for me and my peers, from the onslaught of AOL sample disks, to the original trolling in chat rooms, and the slow blurry reveal of dirty pictures; which would get your computer privileges revoked for weeks if discovered by a parent.  Most of the time I took it for granted until my inquisitiveness took a hold of me sometime in middle school, and I decided to figure out how this all worked by studying HTML and making my own GeoCities webpage.  I felt really proud of it even to this day, despite being inconsequential to the digital landscape at large.  It took weeks of tweaking and adjusting to get just right, but creating something felt great and it still does; weather it's a piece of art, a performance on stage, or this very blog and podcast that I get to be part of on a daily basis.  

That might be the most significant aspect of the Web.  We all get a chance to make a mark, build something that might be silly or eloquent; enlightening or offensive.  The monument to self that the internet is astounds me.  Be it YouTube, Facebook, or the iTunes store all of it fueled by us, from genius programmer to layman LiveJournal-er alike.  Not every Instagram is a prolific work of art, but the desire to create and the access to a tool that makes it possible is.  In 2006 Time Magazine named the person of the year "You" and had a little computer screen on the cover with a mirror in it.  At the time I though them to be lazy shits, but thinking about it now, they were spot on. 

I have not done serious programming since high-school, but I am looking to change that; looking through the source code of webpages that I find beautiful or fascinating, gets me itchy to create.  Every time I click the publish button on this very blog I get satisfaction.  In the last ten years we as a global community have generated more information than the whole of recorded history before that point, though it does have a bit of a glut to it.  I really think of the internet the same way the printing press might have been.  This invention that allows for the output and intake of the written word on a massive scale, permitting ideas to be shared both far and wide.  

This is what is propelling us to the future, and into one another's lives.

What happens from here will be amazing I am sure.  In the last few years we have helped fund each others art with Kicksatrter; rallied behind people suffering half the world away or down the street; shared laughter at kittens being tickled; learned more together then ever could be achieved alone.  With this tool of collective conscious we might be able to reunite this divided age we live in, not through blind agreement but with communication, knowledge, and mindfulness both of the self as well as the other.

This was not the article that I planned on writing but it is the one that came out, I hope you enjoy, and try not to view me as too much of a weirdo. 

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