Monday, September 3, 2007

internet becoming more (not <) like real world.

The internet is growing so fast that all forms of search are unable to keep up or sufficiently consolidate both in terms of content as well as social networking. This failure will lead to ever increased fragmentation. Such an outcome may seem both plausible and not at all problematic. What will this mean for the way we perceive of the internet? If we suppose that mankind requires a certain degree of "unity" and will push back against unchecked fragmentation, then we might ask whether the internet has benefited to an extent from its unifying as well as fragmenting forces. In other words, we all talk about Google, MySpace, YouTube, etc. as much as people in earlier times would talk about I Love Lucy or even Friends in the not so distant past. And so this fulfills some of the need for shared experience in society. But "search" is the battleground between the organizing forces and the opposing chaos that is the outside world. If that battle is lost, the internet becomes as frustrating or limiting as the world outside. In that sense, it ceases to be "special," but becomes merely another manifestation of ordinary life.

When I joined MySpace I had a dream that one day all of my friends would be there in one place, and this idea gave me comfort. This has not happened, and I think it may never happen because the forces of fragmentation are too strong. And so when the promise of commonality is finally exposed as an impossible dream, the allure of the internet will be dampened. The turning point will be the failure of "search".

1 comment:

b said...

so true, so true


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