The Internet is an amazing phenomenon. Its not a place, but you can go there. Its not a library but you can use it to research anything and everything. It exists because you decide to switch on your computer or tablet or mobile phone and look up a YouTube video, do a Google search or share your experiences with others.
People tend to think of it as a “tangible thing” or a “place where lots of stuff is stored”. Its neither and its both. The Web is a consequence not a product. Somebody developed the technology that allowed two computers in different locations to communicate with each other. The Interweb is a consequence of what happened when a shit load of people/computers all started doing that. People, being the social creatures we are began to communicate with each other using the tech & idea’s were shared. Groups of people with similar interests pooled and collectively came up with some great ideas. Technology grew. The Internet grew. Humanity advanced. The cycle continued.
In today’s business world the Internet is almost like air. Think about what you do each day at work. Now imagine how different that would be with no web. It’s so important that we protect it.
In the beginning the Internet’s appeal and power was the ability for people to share ideas, express themselves and congregate with other like minded individuals. Social media as we know it today is just the most evolved form of that.
Online, you had freedom of speech. Is that still the case today? (are you sure?)
WE, (that means you, and me, and the person sitting across, or beside you right now. Also the other people reading this post in Australia, Canada, Germany or wherever) are the web. Never forget that. The infographic below is not new BUT the concept behind what it stands for is more important than ever.
I’m writing this post because there are politicians in power in European countries and in the EU, and the US who are at this very moment discussing how to write legislation to more tightly control the Internet. You remember SOPA? The legislation that was binned in the US due to overwhelming lobbying from massive companies such as Google, WordPress and Wikipedia to name just a few.
Unfortunately for Ireland and Europe we don’t have as strong a lobby here as in the US so we haven’t been so lucky. Our politicians have failed us (but I guess we should probably be used to that at this stage eh?) and introduced legislation that is almost completely useless at the job it was intended to do.
Quick sidebar: I have absolutely no problem whatsoever with effective measures to stamp out piracy and the illegal distribution of music/video/software/etc that companies have spent a lot of time and money creating in their business. At Lime Canvas we create software and content that we sell (or intend to sell) so we are more motivated than most to prevent copyright infringement. However rather than just railing against the things we can’t change we are always looking for new ways to innovate and do things better. To adapt old revenue models to make them effective in today’s day and age. I believe every company needs to regularly look at new ways of innovating and adapting their revenue models. That or else they’ll go the way of so many businesses (eg HMV) that haven’t been able/willing to innovate. Businesses: its time to completely rethink how you make your money. Its time to adapt and innovate or die.
We can expect more stupid legislation created by people who probably barely know how to use their computers and who certainly have no understanding of the web. Mostly its driven by the massive funds large corporations with vested interests are pouring into lobbying the various government agencies and bodies.
The Internet should be free and open. It should be a place that encourages freedom of speech. It is not a place for ill conceived, ill thought out, legislation created by people who do not understand it.
Remember, We Are The Web. Stand up for your freedom online and don’t let the interests of large corporations with deep pockets dictate what you can and can’t do online.