Why the Web is Still an Infant…

Last week we covered a lot of information about Web 2.0 and where the web is heading in the future. I must say that the discussion was a great experience mainly because it is one of my favorite topics to discuss. One the reading we examined in class made the analogy that the internet is like a baby and as a society it is duty to raise, nurture, and groom that child. After class I thought about this analogy for a while and came to the conclusion that the internet could still be considered an infant. Yes, the internet has been around for quite some time now and the web is just as old as I am, but internet years are completely different from our human years. The web has grown at such a rate it would be easy to argue that the web has aged well past the years of a college graduate. However, even with this alarming growth and seemingly infinite knowledge the web is far from being considered as mature.

We have progressed well past Web 1.0 and wedged ourselves right between Web 2.0 and 3.0. If we continue to think of the web as software updates like we have down so since Tim O’Reilly popularized the term Web 2.0 back in 2004, then we can at least say that the web is somewhere around the age of 2.5 (remember this is in internet years). In its early stages back in the 90s, the web had limited information and had limited mobility, in terms of digital movement. Over the years we fed the web an abundance of information and it continues to grow on a daily basis. Though the web has this vast amount information and knowledge, where it really still lacks is in digital mobility/movement. Yes, Web 2.0 brought on a whole new way of going about the web with new tools and technology, but we are still learning how use these tools to the best of our abilities. Just as an infant finds news way to move around by either crawling or eventually standing up. I would say we are the mist of finally standing up, but we probably won’t get there for a few more years, and probably won’t being walking around anytime soon either. The more we take control over the web the more we will be able to move around (I hope most of this is making sense). We have gained a considerable amount of mobility in the web since its early years through the use of blogs, CMSs, social media, and even commenting sections. Yet, we still don’t have complete control over our own digital movement. Now defining exactly what complete digital control is can be left up to interpretation. We still need our mothers to carry us around (cough…ISPs…cough…social media).

One of the largest reasons we are stuck in this infant stage is because many of us on the web haven’t really claimed a spot. There is plenty of real-estate to go around, but to few of us ever want to pull the trigger and set up shop. Instead, we rent through social media, limiting our household to the landlord decisions…but lets head back to the other analogy. Since the spawn of the Web 2.0 revolution we have seen more and more digital tools arise to help us become more mobile and fluid on the web, but not many of us take advantage of such tools, even when they are absolutely free. Well this is all about growing up and discovering new things. As more people begin to actually use these the more the web will grow along with the need to become more mobile and adaptive. For many tech savvy individuals it may seem like an eternity because these tools and capabilities have been around for so long, but in reality they have not, and the adoption of new technology like the web tools always takes a while to catch on anyways.

Many of us wonder if we going to ever get to Web 3.0 or if we are living in it right now, but beyond looking what to call this new age of the web perhaps its more important to look at how are we going to get there? As the web grows up it is our decisions that will ultimately form what its going to become. Whether that is going to be a more immersive and fluid web or a more restricted social media based web, we will have to determine that as a society. Do not be fooled by internet service providers or major corporations….the web is in out control and not theirs and we must not forget that we have a certain responsibility to hold when we raise this gargantuan child.

Lets be responsible parents and raise this child right with out relinquishing control of our parenting to a select few as it was its most early stage. If we want the web to stand and walk around anytime soon then we need to do something about it and not wait around for it to happen. Nonetheless, we can not rush a infant into getting up and walking around in a day, so we can not expect the same for the web. Once we have more and more individuals up and walking around in the web itself, it will be time for the web to stand on its own.