“You wake up and check your email on your bedside iPad — that’s one app. During breakfast you browse Facebook, Twitter, and The New York Times — three more apps. On the way to the office, you listen to a podcast on your smartphone. Another app. At work, you scroll through RSS feeds in a reader and have Skype and IM conversations. More apps. At the end of the day, you come home, make dinner while listening to Pandora, play some games on Xbox Live, and watch a movie on Netflix’s streaming service.” -Wired Magazine
In Chris Anderson and Michael Wolff’s latest article, The Web is Dead. Long Live the Internet, they argue that the Internet, a term that has often been used interchangeably with “world wide web” is becoming the dominant medium in our everyday lives.
However, I have a different story when I wake up in the morning. I check my e-mail on a desktop- not an iPad; I do check Twitter, Facebook and The New York Times, but then I do something that they failed to mention: I conduct research. I don’t rely on just one news source for information, nor just one website for the best answer to my questions. The abundance of information of the world wide web that is not controlled by a particular corporation is what will keep it thriving; I can find out practically anything I want with a simple question and click of a button. The functionality of the World Wide Web as an unlimited informational resource will keep its digital core beating even as the Internet network expands to reach every facet of our daily lives.
Bryan Appleyard’s article in The Sunday Times broaches the subject of bloggers as “parasites” who “poison debate” since with the fury of extremely opinionated posts that require no citations of credibility, they can steadily change the course of an entire discussion. Ironically, this blog could even be seen as poisonous for challenging Wired’s standpoint. However, blogging on the World Wide Web, as well as just posting information in general contributes to an interconnected web of shared information that cannot easily be achieved through apps. If I wanted to test out several different recipes or read about a variety of fashion reviews there isn’t necessarily one application that can handle all of those searches. Sometimes I want to see the blog of an elderly woman who loves to bake delicious treats in her modest home kitchen.
The beauty of the World Wide Web is that it is comprised of not only corporate users who contribute content, but normal people as well. Applications and Internet powered devices which seem to as Anderson puts it “reflects the inevitable course of capitalism” are created and profited by corporations. Sure they allow users to post and share information through them, but it would ultimately eliminate the everyday John Doe from contributing their individual content. If we lived in a world where we could only interact via apps it would eliminate our role as a creator of unique content. My friend from New York wouldn’t be able to post a website about comic strips she drew; our company wouldn’t be able to showcase our portfolio; non-profit organizations won’t be able to post simple donation forms. Applications are specialized programs that are designed to meet our needs. However, the truth is, out of all the content available on the World Wide Web a large portion does not fall into a specialized arena.
The Web and the Internet both contribute to a cultural phenomenon of sharing free, unrestricted information whether it is through a specialized application or not. Hopefully, as capitalism ensues, the heart of what makes both mediums great will not be lost.