The importance of the internet

To all my loyal readers, I really apologize for my lack of posts this month. I’ve been busy with finishing my Master’s thesis, which I finished on Friday. I’m currently hunting for jobs, and will be able to post more diligently. Hopefully, I’ll get back into the groove I was in before I finished.

The Urban Times asked me to tweet some reasons why I love the internet. I think this was a great idea, it really got me thinking about how I use the internet and interact with the world. There are so many different levels possible to use the internet. In some ways, people look at the internet as something bigger than it is, and other times as less than it is.

For example. the RIAA and MPAA assume that Google is the end all be all of the internet. They act as if the internet is directed by and for Google. However, this isn’t the case, Google has to keep up high quality services and constantly be on the look out for new rivals. If Bing or some other search engine was significantly better, people would migrate to that service.

This brings up a larger point. In many cases it’s really simple to see the internet as simply websites and how we interact through these websites. Either through consuming content (many news websites), creating content (blogging and YouTube) or sharing and interacting with each other (Reddit, Twitter and Facebook). However there are many other routes to enjoy the internet. Gaming, discussion boards about specific topics, chatting through instant messaging programs and voice calls through Skype and other competing services. That doesn’t even touch upon the myriad of IRC channels and other systems users enjoy that I’m completely ignorant of the workings of and use of.

The problem with copyright activists and congressional leaders that are trying to restrict the internet, is that they don’t understand the different levels these things interconnect. Most likely they are concerned with the static pages of websites that link to content. It is through their ignorance that they do not understand how these laws would impact the highly fluid world of social media and content creation.

Memes are an important tool to remind us that we do not create content in a vacuum. Someone starts it with a picture or some turn of phrase and it catches on and some one remixes it and reuses it. However, that initial picture someone still owns. At the same time, the idea is like a dirty joke. It goes from person to person and no one really knows who created it. In the end we all own the joke or meme. Preventing the freedom to share, recreate, remix and reshare would destroy not the internet, but our culture. Our ability to share is what makes us human.

The internet has extended that ability to thousands of new people that had never been connected before in new and exciting ways. That is why I love the internet.

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