30 years later, and how are we doing? On one hand, it would seem the web shrunk the world and has connected us to cultures we could never have imaged being connected to before. We can communicate with others almost anywhere for free. We can see the wonders of the world that we may have never had the opportunity to see before. We can work in collaboration with those who are hundreds, or even thousands, of miles away. We can indulge in things we love to create like never before. Education on nearly every conceivable topic or skill can be reached by almost anyone in the world. Commerce and trade can move at the blink of an eye.
But on the other hand, it can seem that it has driven us further apart. Privacy Advocates are literally pulling their hair out as they come to the realization that many of us have known for some time now – traditional “privacy” is basically nonexistent. Once you click, share, view, shop, download or upload, literally all bets are off in regards to privacy. Criminals of all walks of life have found new and dangerous dark places to hide, while remaining cloaked in anonymity. Tyrannical leaders have yet another, more powerful tool to feed propaganda to their people while simultaneously cutting them off from the rest of the world. Bullying and hatred have evolved in ways that no one could have imagined before.
But ultimately, like most things in life, the internet can be what you make it for yourself – good or bad. Simply put, wherever your focus is, the internet has countless open paths to lead you to conclusions of knowledge or belief. The choice is yours.
Happy 30th Anniversary, World Wide Web!