Monday, June 29, 2009

Our effect on the internet

Late last night I was reading wired (it's a magazine). There were lots of articles about the Internet, consumers, etc. Two of the ones that most interested me were an interview with a man who has just written a book about blogging and an article about the Google/Facebook war for Internet dominance. There was also recently an article in Time that addressed the revolutionary effect of Twitter. Those three articles got me to start thinking about how we - as "consumers" of the Internet - control the information on the Internet.

Think about it. The most popular sites are judged based on the number of views they get in a single day. That's actually part of how Google works - they show you the websites with the most hits first. Sites like Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, etc, etc are all popular because we, the consumer, make them that way. The future of the Internet rests in our hands. As soon as computers were made available to the general population back in the 60's/70's we began to shape their future. When Facebook tried to change it's terms of use, everyone freaked out - so much so that they repealed their change and created a user friendly, based on user votes, constitution.

We shaped that change. We are the reason Twitter is so popular. We are the reason the word "google" now signifies a verb, why the words "facebook" and "mapquest" are verbs, verbs that imply Internet use. Have you ever said, "Go google that, I'll facebook you, can you mapquest some directions, etc"? In the same way that we shape language by accepting that 'to google' means to search for something online through a particular search engine, we shape that search engine with our demands and needs and constant use of the Internet.

While I find the amount of information the Internet has on me a little scary, I am also fascinated by it's dependance on us, the consumers. Our social decisions effect the use of the internet. As more and more information becomes avaliable, we, as internet users, become more and more dominant. Post your thoughts!


Lindsay Anne said...

good points... I agree, the amount of information is a bit scary. also it's funny because most close friends of mine use Gmail (Google) AND Facebook regularly.

p.s. the spell checker accepts Google as a word, but not Facebook. lol.

Emily Elisabeth said...

Internet can be so dangerous! I have stumbled upon some...well, to be honest.....c-r-a-p.

I can't believe we are a culture that wants to be young and free, a culture that is narcisscistic (sp?) and a culture that is catered to.

We are pushing away the efforts of looking up information without the lightning fast internet.

How many times have I hit the computer because the internet took 15 seconds to launch email?